Hansen: Rafa should target British talent

Former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen says the Reds must strengthen their squad in the summer in order to challenge for Premier League glory again next season.

Rafael Benitez's men have run Manchester United close, but not close enough in 2008/09, with the Red Devils needing just a point against Arsenal on Saturday to draw level with their arch rivals from Merseyside on 18 English league crowns apiece.

And BBC pundit Hansen insists that if his former club are to maintain their challenge for a first ever Premier League title next year, several reinforcements will be required to enhance the squad's strength-in-depth.

"The problem Liverpool and the rest of Manchester United's title challengers have is that Sir Alex has such a strong squad at his disposal," he said.

"United can play a Champions League game on a Wednesday, make seven changes and the performance level remains seamless.

"Liverpool just can't do that. In this modern era of matches coming thick and fast and squad rotation, United have a huge advantage.

"It's crucial that Liverpool strengthen but a lot depends on what money is available to Rafa.   And Hansen, who won eight English league titles and three European Cups with the Anfield outfit, would prefer to see Benitez sign British talent to compliment a squad already awash with foreign - predominantly Spanish - stars.

"There's talk of Valencia star David Silva arriving and he's undoubtedly a good player but I'd prefer the club to go for British targets," he said.

"For me, British players tend to play a lot more matches, have more versatility and would improve the current balance of the Liverpool squad."

LIVERPOOL FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Ian Rush, Craig Johnston Q&A Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres One on One Michael Owen, Nicolas Anelka, Kevin Keegan Boy's A Bit Special Danny Guthrie Ask A Silly Question John Barnes, Peter Crouch, Luis Garcia, John Aldridge Perfect XI Jamie Carragher What Happened Next? Julian Dicks And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan

Plus! Rate Liverpool players (and others) on Talentspotter