With the ending of Liverpool’s Europa League hopes and the confirmation that the Reds won’t be securing a trophy in Brendan Rodgers’ first campaign at the helm, thoughts have already turned to next season.
The impact of January arrivals Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have already been welcomed by supporters, but with the retirement of Jamie Carragher and the likely shedding of several squad players to come, the Reds could look even more different this time next year.
In midfield, Rodgers has several options and several players who have all impressed at various times this season.
Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Jonjo Shelvey have all been used in one of the three midfield positions in Rodgers’ formation, but perhaps the injection of some new blood in there could see further improvement all round.
Rodgers will already be casting his eye over several targets, and perhaps some of these names will feature on what is sure to be a talented list.
Reportedly close to a move to Liverpool prior to the sacking of Kenny Dalglish last summer (via Daily Mail), Senegalese midfielder Mohamed Diame has impressed since swapping Wigan for West Ham.
The all-action midfielder has drawn admiring glances from several of the top Premier League clubs following his move to Upton Park, especially given that he has a release clause in his contract that is set at just £3.5m.
Many expected Diame to move during the January transfer window, but he looks likely to be donning the shirt of one of the Premier League big boys next season.
At 6'1", Diame would provide Liverpool’s midfield with a physical presence that just isn’t there at times, and he could prove to be a welcome and cheap addition.
The Icelandic midfielder appeared certain to move to Liverpool in the summer only to eventually choose Tottenham.
Sigurdsson wouldn’t be cheap, and a move for him would require a certain loss of face given that Rodgers and Liverpool were unsuccessful in their pursuit of him in the summer. But there is no doubt that the 23-year-old has talent, and Rodgers will hope to coax impressive performances out of him as he did at both Reading and Swansea.
Maybe he could end up making the switch to Anfield a year late.
The Netherlands has been a healthy hunting ground for transfer targets for Liverpool for a while now, and in the Ajax captain Siem de Jong, they could find another star.
De Jong is often used upfront by his team, although he can drop further back and surely would in a Reds side, which would of course include another ex-Ajax star in Luis Suarez.
They are very different players and often play in different positions, but there is something reminiscent of Dirk Kuyt about De Jong in the way he moves around the pitch and in the leadership he shows.
Liverpool need leaders now more than ever, and whether or not swapping the Ajax captaincy for a move to a club still very much in transition would actually be a step up for De Jong is a debate for another day. The 24-year-old would be a first-class addition to Rodgers’ plans.
Newcastle’s struggles have been plain to see all season, and you have to wonder whether or not they have taken their toll on possibly the brightest of their many French stars.
Yohan Cabaye is a classy operator with a hint of a nasty streak, and he would instantly add huge quality to a Liverpool midfield that will be challenged to score more goals next season.
Liverpool have a history of paying big money for Newcastle players, and although a move for the 27-year-old Cabaye would require a move away from the youth-only policy that has been installed at the club, it would make huge sense and add proven Premier League class to the squad.
Such a transfer would of course be unlikely, but it would also establish Liverpool’s desire to be competitive at the top end of the table, something they have to be sooner rather than later.