Rafa wants £60m to spend

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Manager Rafael Benitez has hinted Liverpool may need to spend as much as £60million in the summer if they are to challenge for the Barclays Premier League title next season.

The Reds were expected to make a concerted bid for the title this season but have endured a painfully below-par campaign that finds them in sixth place and 19 points adrift of leaders Chelsea. Benitez believes the club must buy at least three new players in the summer to reinvigorate his squad and admits he will need to sell some of his squad to fund their arrival.

"The cost of a top-class player is about £20million. I think we need three," he said.

"We want to keep the spine of the team. But sometimes you have to manage and you have to sell two or three players who aren't playing many games.

"I think we can improve but it depends if we can do the right signings and it is always easier to sign more players with more money.

"It's not easy for us to compete for players. We have to do almost everything perfectly. People can talk about this player and that player but they have to blend in because if you don't have £60million every year you have to sell."

Benitez believes the lack of depth in his squad has cost them dear this season. The Spaniard's only major purchase last summer was the £20million he spent on Alberto Aquilani, who has struggled with injury since arriving at Anfield, and he admits he needs more star players in his squad.

"Look at other teams, they have plenty of players worth £20million who are not playing, but they manage because of the squad," he said.

"Last year we tried to keep players and extend contracts and to add some players. It depends on the money available but the key is if you don't have too much money then don't make mistakes.

"Sometimes you bring someone who needs to settle down or they have a problem - this year we had a problem with Alberto Aquilani and his ankle - so you cannot guarantee anything."

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