London: Brendan Rodgers Friday revealed his "bitter disappointment" at failing to persuade Alexis Sanchez to reject Arsenal in favour of Liverpool after admitting the Chilean had been identified as the perfect replacement for Luis Suarez.
Sanchez completed a £32m move from Barcelona to Arsenal following the World Cup, despite strenuous attempts by Liverpool to hand the 26-year-old the opportunity to fill the void left by Uruguayan Suarez, whose move to the Camp Nou signalled Sanchez’s departure from the Spanish club, reports telegraph.co.uk.
The former Udinese winger has since scored 14 goals in 24 appearances for Arsenal and emerged as the outstanding player in Arsene Wenger’s team this season.
And Rodgers admits that missing out on Sanchez has proven to be a ‘critical’ blow for Liverpool due to the team’s inability to replicate the form of last season caused by the lack of a player capable of producing the work-rate and goal threat of Suarez.
“I think if you look at how I ask the teams to play, it is critical. Not just with the ball, but the intensity with the pressing. 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,” Rodgers said.
"He (Sanchez) is a world-class player and was regarded as somebody who could come here and be perfect for us. He is a brilliant footballer with outstanding quality and even bigger work-rate, so to not get him was obviously bitterly disappointing."
The sale of Suarez and thigh injury suffered by Daniel Sturridge, which has restricted the England forward to just two appearances this season, have combined to leave Liverpool floundering in mid-table this season, having almost won the title last term.