LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers has warned that there are two substantial impediments to him spending heavily in January - availability and affordability - and he will not be tempted to take risks with investments, despite the potential of a top-four finish being far greater than he imagined.
The implosions at Arsenal and Chelsea this season have made two Champions League positions look achievable, even taking into account the erratic nature of Liverpool's first season under Rodgers, which continued with Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa.
Although progress has been made towards an £18m investment in Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge and Blackpool's Tom Ince, Rodgers is insistent he wants to return to Champions League football in a sustainable way, rather than gamble more on the promised land than he might otherwise have done.
Asked about the temptations of a Premier League table which leaves Liverpool in 12th, five points off fifth-placed Everton, he said: "There is a bigger picture for sure and it goes back to affordability.
"We will spend money in January to try and bring fresh faces into the group and give us that support at the top end. But the reality (about) all the names bandied about is 'Are they going to be available?' Certainly we will bring in what we can and help us and then we will revisit it again.
"All our problems were never going to be solved in this window because the January window is one of the least productive and the least movement goes on there.
"But we will look to solve some of our problems then and then we will look to revisit it in the summer knowing that in the summer we will be better placed than the previous summer.
"There is no doubt we will get reinforcements in and get the backing, but it will come down to two things - the availability and affordability of players.
I see lots of names bandied about that are pie in the sky because there won't be too many top players moving in January as clubs want top money.
"But there is no doubt we want to bring in goals and players who can assist in scoring goals.
"If we can do that then that will set us up and then we can really reinforce when the transfer market opens up in the summer again."
Meanwhile Rodgers is preparing to give midfielders Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen a rest after acknowledging fatigue played a part in their home defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday.
Sterling has been hugely impressive in his first Premier League season but has only just turned 18 while Allen is also getting used to life at Anfield.
"There is no doubt Raheem needs that breather," said Rodgers. "I've thought about it over the past couple of weeks. But you need to have that depth to take him out and put somebody else in."