Brendan Rodgers has admitted that missing out on Alexis Sanchez this summer was disappointing and would have "been perfect" for Liverpool.
Sanchez snubbed the Reds for a move to Arsenal for £35 million in August and has been highly successful in North London, scoring nine Premier League goals already.
The Merseyside club lost Luis Suarez in the summer and have failed to replace his 31 top flight strikers that made him the league's top goal scorer last season.
Sanchez preferred Arsenal
Rodgers attempted to barter with Barcelona in a 'cash plus Sanchez deal' for the sale of Suarez as well as putting in a higher bid for the Chilean striker than the Gunners, however, the 26-year-old preferred a move to the capital.
And the Northern Irishman knows how much quality Sanchez has and feels he would have been a great addition to the Liverpool squad.
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“To not get him was obviously bitterly disappointing,” said Brendan Rodgers ahead of Sunday's game against Arsene Wenger's outfit. “He’s a world class player with outstanding quality and even bigger work rate. He would have been perfect for us.
“He made his decision. The best option for him.
“I think if you look at how I ask teams to play speed is critical,” Rodgers said. “Not just with the ball, but the intensity with the pressing.
“When Daniel Sturridge was injured in August I think everyone who knows football should hopefully be able to see that our game has become much deeper because of personnel.
“Sanchez was identified for us as someone who would have been a key signing and really just a roll on to what we had with Luis Suarez.
“So to not get him was obviously bitterly disappointing, but once he was gone that was it. We just had to focus on what we had.”
Since moving to England, the La Liga winner has been prolific at the Emirates.
He's been the heart and soul of the Arsenal team and inspired them to victory on so many occasions.
Sanchez is blessed with extreme pace and power when on the attack making it difficult for defenders to get near him when he's on a charge forward.
He's notched 14 goals in all competitions, more than Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard all added up.
Sanchez too has passion, which has been lacking in the Liverpool team.
There's no secret that the Reds have struggled to score goals this term.
Last campaign they notched 103 goals in the Premier League, more than any team and put fear into back-fours.
They smashed goals past Everton, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hostpur twice and it was mainly due to Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
With the Urugauyian now playing his football at Barcelona and Struddige been side-lined since early September, Rodgers has relied on Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert to lead the Liverpool forward-line.
However, the ex-Swansea City manager has admitted that the two summer signings do not fit into his style of play he's trying to adopt at Anfield.
“We brought in Balotelli who has had an opportunity to play in that role but that isn’t his game – the pressing,” Rodgers said.
“Big Rickie has come in and he was brought here for a reason and a purpose. He has great qualities but that isn’t what he does and when you don’t have that and can’t press high up the field then your starting position is much deeper, you become much deeper in the field and then it works the other way in transition.
“When you win the ball, you cannot than break at breakneck speed and flood forward like we did last year because we are not that explosive.”
Liverpool were all about pace last season and hitting the opposition on the counter-attack. They blasted team's away in the first-half thanks to the speed of Suarez, Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.
Balotelli, however, likes the ball to his feet and does not offer the movement that is required and the same can be said about Lambert.
The Reds beat Bournemouth 3-1 in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night and it was a new-look side put out by Rodgers playing a 3-4-2-1 system.
Raheem Sterling played as a number nine, something that he is not used to and Lazar Markovic was given a start.
Both done well in the game with Sterling grabbing a brace and Markovic striking his first Liverpool goal
“If you look at the team the other night against Bournemouth, you see the value of having that pace in the central area of the field,” Rodgers said.
“First of all it allows you to press and it means that your game can be much more aggressive.
“You press the ball in the high areas of the field and if you looked at us in the opening 20 minutes of games because of that pressure and suffocation of opponents we can get the ball back higher up the field.
“It gives you more chances of a goal, if you are winning it higher up the field, 25 to 30 metres from goal, you are going to create more chances.
“The types of players I have – technical players – they then have the skills to deal with the ball in tight areas.
“You watch the game the other night and see that profile of player in that position and see what it brings to the team against a really good side, who are super organised and could be getting promoted this year."
System back to basics
But, Liverpool face a much stiffer task against Arsenal at the weekend.
They have a powerful front-line consisting of Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey, all capable to scoring goals.
Playing three at the back against such a strong attacking side could be a poor move by Rodgers as it leaves the Reds' back-four exposed.
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