Football

AVB allure could leave Liverpool further behind

AVB was lurking in the shadows as Spurs signed Sigurdsson. (©GettyImages)
AVB was lurking in the shadows as Spurs signed Sigurdsson. (©GettyImages).

Although Tottenham can boast to have finished four places above Liverpool last season, it almost comes an irrelevance given the failure of both clubs to claim a coveted Champions League place.

Spurs suffered the heartache of relinquishing their spot in Europe's premier club competition following Chelsea's dramatic shootout triumph in the Allianz Arena, while Liverpool failed to even flirt with the Premier League's upper reaches.

Both clubs have since heralded the arrival of new eras, with experience and respect traded for youth and dynamism in the dugouts at White Hart Lane and Anfield as Harry Redknapp and Kenny Dalglish were cast aside by their respective clubs.

In Andre Villas-Boas, Spurs have a manager hardened for his experiences at Chelsea, but seemingly chalk to the cheese of the avuncular Redknapp with the Portuguese renowned for a more disciplined approach with his players.

At Anfield, erstwhile Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has been tasked with instilling his footballing ideals honed at the Liberty Stadium into a squad he has, of yet, been unable to reinforce.

It still remains unclear as to how much funding Rodgers will receive in order to bolster his ranks and, given Dalglish's profligate spending, Liverpool's owners could be forgiven for reining it in somewhat this summer.

Fenway Sports Group are, of course, willing to provide Rodgers with relative backing - laying on the resources to capture Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim - and for some time it appeared the Reds would get their man.

However, Spurs - with Villas-Boas lurking in the background - gazumped Liverpool in pursuit of the Iceland international, with the lure of working with Rodgers again not enough to convince Sigurdsson to move to Merseyside.

It would come as no great surprise if this were to become a regular pattern between two teams vying for one place among England's elite, with Spurs now claiming supremacy over their more illustrious rivals.

It is perhaps an indictment of the modern game that Sigurdsson was prepared to sign for Spurs before the appointment of a new manager, but informed opinion suggests the 22-year-old was already aware of the imminent acquisition of Villas-Boas.

Rodgers has always pointed towards a discrepancy in the salary on offer from the respective clubs as the motivating factor behind Sigurdsson's change of heart, but it is difficult to deny that the allure of Spurs is greater than that of Liverpool.

This is likely to prove a stumbling block for Rodgers moving forward if Liverpool attempt to compete with their nearest rivals in the transfer market, and Sigurdsson will not be the last player to chose the Lane over Anfield.

It may be that this will be a headache Rodgers may not even need contemplate, with the Northern Irishman instead tasked with encouraging the best from a squad built on a more modest budget, with the exception of the signings of his predecessor.

Rodgers is a young and impressive manager but, while his star is on the rise, Liverpool's is in decline, and the prospect of establishing Liverpool among the European elite once more is a daunting one.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Premier League
Liverpool

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