Reds miss out on Konoplyanka

  • Last Updated: February 1 2014, 1:53 GMT

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insisted his squad was strong enough to compete for the Barclays Premier League title, even though he did not make a single signing in January.

Yevhen Konoplyanka: Staying at Dnipro
Yevhen Konoplyanka: Staying at Dnipro

A possible £16million deal for Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk failed to materialise on transfer deadline day, Rodgers having earlier admitted the move was "a little complicated".

But the Northern Irishman claimed he was "very optimistic" about the group of players he has at his disposal, with the team on a high following their 4-0 thumping of Everton in the Merseyside derby.

Rodgers admitted January was an awkward time to add players, saying on liverpoolfc.com: "I think it's difficult in order to bring certain players in that are going to help us immediately. The availability of the player, and of course the affordability, are always the two factors involved in getting a player in.

"It certainly hasn't been because of a lack of work by the football club. There are lots of people who have worked tirelessly to identify and find the right types of players. A lot of those players haven't been able to become available for us.

"Of course, as a manager, you would like to have strengthened, but I'm very optimistic with the group of players I still have available here. If we can keep those players fit, and maximise the availability for the rest of the season, we can have a great chance to have a really good finish."

The midweek win over Everton left Liverpool in the top four, seven points behind in-form leaders Manchester City.

Rodgers said: "If you look at the position that we're in with 15 games to go, we have shown consistently that we have the squad to compete. The benefit of the second half of the season is that there is still a lot of development left in a lot of our players.

"We have a lot of young players playing in the team who are growing and improving all the time. Them gaining experience and playing games, with the consistency of the team, adds up for a really exciting last 15 games for us."


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