Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will need to invest in players this winter if Liverpool are to sustain their push for a Champions League spot.

The Reds slipped to a shock first-ever loss to Hull City at the weekend, prompting criticism of the manager over his summer recruitment, a policy which the Northern Irishmen has been quick to defend.

Liverpool have started the season in fine form, but after an injury to in-form striker Daniel Sturridge twinned with Sunday's defeat at Hull, questions have been raised about the strength of the squad at Anfield.

A total of almost £21million was spent this summer on the aquisitions of Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Tiago Illori, with the trio making a combined four starts for the club so far this season.

Rodgers has defended his policy, stating that he has to think about the long-term prospects of the club. Illori and Alberto are aged just 20 and 21 respectively. 

Whilst an investment in youth is admirable, Liverpool are a club in urgent need of a return to the big time. Five times winners of Europe's biggest prize, they have been absent from the Champions League since 2009/10.

When you consider some of the Premier League's other summer signings who are making an impact this season, Christian Eriksen (£11.5m), Loic Remy (Loan) or Mathieu Flamini (Free), it could be suggested that Liverpool's budget could have been better placed elsewhere.

All three of the Liverpool signings, while they may have flattered to deceive thus far, of course need time to adapt. It would be unfair to write off such signings without allowing for a sufficient transitional period.

For Liverpool though, their strong start to the season must be sustained, not least to keep a certain Luis Suarez happy and away from the clutches of lurking European giants.

Last January was one of the most successful windows in Liverpool's recent history, in the signings of Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho, they acquired two players who were both young and talented but above all, instantly improved the first eleven. A similar window would give the club the push it needs to maintain this start and remain competing at the top end of the table.

Central midfield is an area that needs strengthening, with the 33-year-old Steven Gerrard still relied on heavily. Lucas is not yet quite the player he was before injuries, whilst Jordan Henderson is ever-improving but still some way off becoming a top midfield player.

French international Yann M'Vila was recently spotted in the Liverpool end for the recent Merseyside derby, a highly touted prospect with something of a bad boy reputation, M'Vila was seen as a coup when he was tempted to Russian side Rubin Kazan amongst interest from Arsenal and Tottenham.

Keisuke Honda, the Japanese international, is available on a free this winter when his contract with CSKA Moscow expires. A player blessed with technique, he would represent value in both footballing and marketing terms. Heavily linked with a move to AC Milan, Rodgers should move quick if he is to make this deal happen.

In the absence of Sturridge and Aspas yet to show any signs of being a top Premier League player, Liverpool suddenly become over-reliant on Suarez. A forward addition would be ideal, Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata, linked with loan moves to Arsenal and Tottenham, would be a solid addition to bolster the ranks.

Liverpool have made a fine start to the Premier League season, but January 2014 is shaping up to be one of the most important transfer window's in their recent history. Brendan Rodgers and his team will be well aware of this.

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