—- A year ago the test for Brendan Rodgers was keeping Luis Suarez, filling the gap left by Jamie Carragher’s retirement and starting to rebuild his squad with the long-term in mind.

Very different this summer. Rodgers is under the pressure of expectation. Liverpool finished a surprisingly high second last season and the departure of 31-goal Suarez for Barcelona has not eased the demands on Rodgers. Suddenly he has had significant money to spend so as to step up the pressure on title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.

Liverpool have already spent £70m this summer with more to go, particularly after the setting-up of a £14m sale of Fabio Borini to Sunderland where the Italian was on loan last season.

Rodgers’s latest signing is the £8m purchase of French striker Loic Remy from promoted Queens Park Rangers. Liverpool head for the United States this week with the 27-year-old expected to join other new team-mates such as England World Cup forwards Adam Lallana (£25m) and Rickie Lambert (£4m) from Southampton, Lazar Markovic (£20m) from Benfica and Emre Can (£12m) from Bayer Leverkusen.

Next target is Southampton’s Croatia defender Dejan Lovren. New Saints manager Ronald Koeman has rejected a £20m offer and expressed his anger with Lovren’s statement to the media that “my head is already at Liverpool.”

Concern for Koeman

Koeman added: “A player shouldn’t say something like that. It’s not very proper. I don’t want to lose him but, if he leaves, he will only go for a top price.”

Saints ‘lost’ not only Lambert and Lallana to Liverpool but teenage England leftback Luke Shaw to Manchester United for £30m.

Liverpool continued their pre-season match work by coming from behind on Saturday to beat Preston North End 2:1 in the Shankly Trophy match at Deepdale; Bill Shankly managed Preston before revitalising Liverpool in the 1960s and 1970s.

Saturday’s goals came from Suso and youngster Kristoph Peterson. Both were created by Jordan Ibe, the latest exciting product of the club’s academy and who is being compared with old Anfield hero John Barnes and starlet Raheem Sterling.

Lambert made a first appearance in a Liverpool shirt but Can had to limp off after suffering a calf injury 20 minutes into the game. It was hoped the German under-21 international would be fit to join the flight to Boston where Liverpool play Roma at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.