Liverpool new-boy Sturridge represents more value for money than Dempsey, says Ian Ayre

The Reds' managing director says not signing the American was the right decision even though the Merseysiders were left short of attacking options for the first half of the season

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has backed the £12 million fee the club paid for Daniel Sturridge in January, insisting it represents greater value for money than the failed summer move for Clint Dempsey.

Luis Suarez was the sole fit senior striker at the club for the majority of the first half of the season after the Reds were unable to recruit a replacement for Andy Carroll – who joined West Ham on loan – and Fabio Borini was sidelined with a foot injury.

With the club's owner's Fenway Sports Group buckling at the £6m valuation of Dempsey, the forward moved to Tottenham, but Ayre believes it was the right approach to take in hindsight.

"The issue came down to a particular deal and a particular price or structure to that deal, and it wasn't right to do it. Likewise, the interest in certain other players wasn't right," Ayre told reporters.

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"People may feel they want to criticise the fact we didn't have an additional striker. But at what price would you sacrifice spending on something that is not in the long-term interests of the club versus what we just did, which was getting a great price on a great player in Daniel Sturridge?

"If we had spent that money in the summer, then we wouldn't have done that trade recently. It may have left us short, but the pieces just did not come together. We've come through that period now and I still feel it was the right decision."

As exclusively revealed by on Wednesday, the club remain in the hunt for January additions - with Inter outcast Wesley Sneijder a target.

While Ayre refused to rule out further signings and argued that older players still have something to contribute to the squad, younger players offer greater long-term potential.

He added: "If you remember back to the sale of the club, John Henry said we want to win, but we don't just want to win once, we want to build something which keeps winning.

"If we're going to do that, then we need to do it from the ground up with young players, so that when you start winning you have still got the majority of that group to keep contributing over a period of time.

"If the right, more-senior player became available, and was the right person to contribute, and the manager made that point strongly, we would definitely consider it.

"But where a player is younger and talented with the right level of ability, we will always go for the younger option because it's a better long-term investment for the club to have someone who will be here a long time hopefully."

"We may or may not add to what we have done already before the end of January. We will only buy when the right deal is there at the right time."