José Reina believes Liverpool can compete for Champions League qualification next season providing the club retain their key talents and invest further in Brendan Rodgers' squad.
Liverpool's latest set of published accounts revealed a loss of £40.5m for the 10-month period to 31 May 2012 and an increase in net debt to £87m from £65m in 2010-11. Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool's owner, loaned a further £47m to the club in August and has embarked on a series of cost-cutting measures since Rodgers arrived as manager and understood to have reduced the annual wage bill alone by over £15m.
Ian Ayre, Liverpool's managing director, has said the finances will not force Rodgers to sell players this summer, when leading striker Luis Suárez will be targeted by several European clubs. But Reina, another high-earner who has been linked with a summer move, insists Liverpool must keep their leading players, and spend again, to reclaim a place among the European elite.
The goalkeeper said: "This year has been important for us in terms of getting to know what the manager wants and develop the ideas. Then we have to be ready for the very first game of next season to challenge. Obviously we will need some help from the board but I think the basis is well settled. We know the ideas and philosophies of the manager. It is getting better and better so hopefully we will be ready to compete."
Reina cautioned against looking too far ahead – "we need to finish this season first," he said – and claimed Liverpool will approach Tottenham's visit to Anfield on Sunday with added confidence following an impressive personal and collective display at Wigan. "I'm happy and I helped the team," said the Spain international of Saturday's 4-0 win. "I did my job. There will be some mistakes along the way but there will also be games like Wigan. The whole group is trying to find the right balance. We will get better, I'm sure of it."
The Liverpool keeper joined the growing tributes for Suárez's contribution this season, with the Uruguay international overtaking Robin van Persie as the leading goalscorer in the Premier League with a hat-trick against Wigan that took his league total to 21.
"Liverpool is very lucky to have Luis," added Reina. "Every day I am proud to say that I share a dressing room with such a big player. He is 100% all the time. Obviously we will see what happens in the future. Everybody wants him to stay with the team."