Ian Ayre Says Liverpool’s Mix of Youth and Experience Makes It Most Balanced Squad in Premier League

Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Lucas LeivaIan Ayre believes the Liverpool squad is blessed with the ideal balance of world-class stars and fledgling talents — with more additions possible before the end of the month.

The Reds’ managing director has assured supporters that Brendan Rodgers will have the means to enhance his playing options, which have already been boosted by the “immediate impact” of Daniel Sturridge.

“We may or may not add to that further before the end of January,” Ayre told the Liverpool Echo. “That’s something we’re still working on and considering. We will only buy when the right deal is there at the right time. We will continue to add to the group and improve it. Daniel Sturridge signed recently and has made an immediate impact.

“Of course we have to progress to be able to hang on to our world-class talent. But we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t think we would progress.

“You need to have a mix in your squad and we have probably got the best balance in terms of any team in the league. Our two most senior players have spent their whole careers at this football club. At the lower end we have a bunch of five or six very young players who have come through our Academy process and are now contributing for the first team.

“Then in the middle of that we’ve got world-class international players like Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Pepe Reina and Lucas Leiva. That’s the right mix I think.

“We’ve got people who understand what this club really means and have enjoyed success here. We’ve got young players breaking through, learning and getting experience from them. Then we’ve got international players like Luis Suarez who could be playing anywhere in the world — but he’s playing at Liverpool FC.”

Many of those experienced players have signed new contracts at Anfield since Rodgers was installed as boss — including Agger, Skrtel and Suarez.

Emphasis has been placed on youth to a large degree, however, a policy Ayre insists is the right way for the Reds to achieve long-term success.

“If you remember back to the sale of the club, John Henry said we want to win but we don’t just want to win once, we want to build something which keeps winning,” he added. “If we’re going to do that then we need to do it from the ground up with young players, so that when you start winning you have still got the majority of that group to keep contributing over a period of time.

“It’s not a policy which is set in stone but it’s an aspiration.

“If we feel there’s a particular position or player who can contribute to the group and is over that sort of age limit, it doesn’t mean we won’t consider that player.

“As everyone saw in the summer we renewed deals with many of our senior players. So experience is vital and we will consider more experienced players where it makes sense. But where a player is younger and talented with the right level of ability, we will always go for the younger option because it’s a better long-term investment for the club to have someone who will be here a long time hopefully.”

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