The most important thing for Liverpool in Raheem Sterling’s sale?

Liverpool have given attacker Raheem Sterling what he wanted and allowed the England international to move to Manchester City for a reported £49million fee.

The deal can be looked at in two ways for the Reds, with many seeing it as a negative transfer – especially following the departure of Luis Suarez last summer.

Selling top talent is certainly not a plan to take any team to the top, but the Anfield outfit must learn the lessons following Suarez’s exit to ensure Sterling’s absence does not limit the club’s chances of finishing in the top four.

The Reds went on a spending spree last summer to appease the fans after the Uruguayan’s transfer to Barcelona, with a host of new faces brought to the club. Although some, such as Emre Can, made a telling contribution, most of the acquisitions turned out to be money wasted.

The Merseyside outfit will now be rueing signing the likes of Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic and Rickie Lambert for considerable fees, effectively wasting the windfall from the Suarez sale.

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As such, the most important thing for Liverpool this summer is that the money gained from Sterling’s sale is used wisely and not spurned once again.

Should this summer’s transfer business follow the pattern of 12 months ago and the team effectively being weaker than the previous season, the chances of a finish in the top four and Brendan Rodgers’ longevity in the dugout must surely be in doubt.

However, although hindsight is a wonderful thing, the early signs are that the Reds have made much more astute purchases with this summer’s available warchest.

Nathaniel Clyne is a comprehensive option for the troublesome right wing-back role, while Danny Ings adds competition in attack. Roberto Firmino certainly has all the attributes to be a real star and has proven his skill, creativity and ability to score goals in Germany – only time will tell whether he is the next Philippe Coutinho or Iago Aspas.

James Milner’s addition on a free transfer adds English grit and versatility to Rodgers’ squad and all-in-all is a low risk signing.

However, the biggest expenditure and most high-profile signing looks like it is still set to happen, with the Reds matching Christian Benteke’s £32.5million release clause.

If and when the 24-year-old Belgian moves from Aston Villa to the Reds, his performances will largely dictate Liverpool’s fate and whether or not the money gained from Sterling’s sale was used wisely or wasted.

The burly centre forward has the directness to make Rodgers’ team a much more dangerous side, with his presence reducing some of the dependance on the injury-prone Daniel Sturridge.

With Adam Lallana, Coutinho, Markovic and Firmino all options in attacking midfield, all of a sudden Sterling’s absence may not be as acutely felt – only time will tell.