Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits the club will have to at least give an indication they are capable of qualifying for the Champions League if they are to attract top-quality players.
The Reds have failed to finish in the top four in the last three seasons and that has undoubtedly impacted on the signings successive managers have been able to make. Nine points currently separate them and fourth-placed Chelsea but Liverpool could strike a significant psychological blow if they beat Tottenham, who are only four points better off than them, at White Hart Lane on Wednesday.
Spurs have shown over the last couple of years what effect the lure of Europe's elite club competition - combined with a healthy transfer budget - can have. "Over the course of the summer they invested something in the region of £55million net in terms of everything they were putting into the group," said the Reds boss.
In the summer they signed two of Liverpool's major targets midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson and forward Clint Dempsey from under the nose of Rodgers as a result of better financial backing. Rodgers knows he cannot compete with the money counterpart Andre Villas-Boas has at his disposal and accepts rebuilding for a top-four challenge may take a while.
He added: "it is not just in the last window, Tottenham have been building the group steadily and have worked their way up the league to become challenges for those Champions League positions.
"We are trying to arrive in that position and we see that what sometimes it takes in order to do that. Of course Liverpool want to be in for the top players and top talents and this is a club which will bring those players here.
"But obviously a lot of players want to be in the Champions League so if they want to come in here that is an area we want to get into in the coming years. We know we are not too far away and are very close to be arriving in that zone that we want to be in."
Rodgers' squad requires some significant arrivals in January but the manager has stated on several previous occasions he will not have a huge amount to spend. But the Northern Irishman is hopeful alternative methods will be equally as successful.
"If you haven't got the investment you have to find other ways of doing it and that is where we are at the moment," he added. "That is the challenge for us and one we are accepting.
"Globally we are looking at a way of working, can we be different in our way of playing, can we find a bargain somewhere, can we develop young players and bring them through?"
- Sports & Recreation