Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has revealed his club are struggling to compete in this summer’s inflated transfer market.
“The market is now crazy. It is all money, money, money now,” Benitez said at the unveiling of full-back Glen Johnson, a £17.5million signing from Portsmouth.
“We had to pay big money. But we were signing a good player, an England player (Johnson), and that is very positive.”
Benitez is unhappy that long-term target Gareth Barry opted to join Manchester City rather than Liverpool.
“City have signed a lot of good players, but that is no guarantee they will win anything. But it will be interesting to see what happens next season,” said Benitez.
Benitez is now bracing himself to fend off big-money bids from Real Madrid and Barcelona for Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano respectively.
He said: “I do not think Alonso or Mascherano will go. It is clear that they both are under contract with long-term agreements. That is it.
“There has been a lot of things written, a lot of rumours, but both players are under contract and we have no more need to talk about things.
“They are both very good players and I will be very pleased to keep them. They both have very good contracts.
“We signed them both from different situations. Alonso was coming from Real Sociedad and nobody had really heard much of him outside of Spain, he did well and we renewed his contract because of that.
“Mascherano came from West Ham where he had not been doing well. We brought him here and gave him a good contract, so we are very pleased with them both and that Liverpool has been very good to them.”
Benitez is particularly concerned by the spending power of Manchester City as well as European rivals Real Madrid.
“Things have changed. You have to adapt to a situation. Manchester City and big clubs in Europe are spending big money, so the market has changed and we have to work harder,” he added.
“If you spend big it is always easier to perform well. But when you have a good understanding between players, that is also important. If they are together, they work hard, that is just as important.”