Liverpool ran Manchester City mighty close in the race to win the Premier League title, far closer than everyone – themselves included – would have anticipated prior to the start of the previous season.
On account of their excellent effort to claim a maiden top-tier crown since its 1992 rebrand, the Reds are 11/2 to best their second-place finish from 2013/14 by one when the music restarts.
Without having access to the sort of finances open to Manchester City and Chelsea, Brendan Rodgers won’t be drafting in myriad world-class players this summer, but signings in three departments in particular are essential if they are to progress and feature as part of the four factors they must do to win the title next term.
Overhaul the defence
As well as Jon Flanagan did deputising at left-back, he’s not a viable solution to their lack of a genuine number three and at least one elite centre-half is a necessity.
The fact that they finished a mere two points behind City is testament to how good their attack is, with the 50 goals they shipped worse than seven of the tallies managed by their top-flight bedfellows this season and would’ve been by far the highest number conceded by a champion had they finished top.
Reinforce the midfield
Again, much like Flanagan, Steven Gerrard performed admirably in a position in which he isn’t a specialist and if Liverpool intend to be title winners, they’ll need to add an enforcer to their midfield.
The Merseysiders were very fortunate that their skipper wasn’t forced to sit out for extended periods last time, especially given his advancing years, but with involvement in continental competition on the horizon, they surely won’t be so lucky next time around.
Buy a winger
January saw Liverpool try and fail to bring in a wide alternative to Raheem Sterling and adding a fresh source of goals from the wing will be key, especially given that the England flyer only hit peak form after a lengthy stint on the sidelines in the first part of the campaign.
The unrelenting effort he put in post-Christmas, combined with a hectic World Cup summer, means there’s every chance he’ll need another recuperation period in order to match the standards set in recent months.
Revert to 3-5-2
Rodgers dabbled in this devilry earlier in the campaign, but shelved it following the Reds’ 2-0 loss at Arsenal.
Utilising this formation more often may yield rewards; the added centre-back would help consecrate their backline, while they could also keep the midfield diamond that allowed them to rise to Premier League prominence intact too, without detracting from the Luis Suarez-Daniel Sturridge axis up front.