It can be a difficult and thankless task for fans to try to keep up with all the transfer rumours affecting their club as the summer window approaches, but for Liverpool fans, it seems as though that process has started extra-early this year.
Still with several weeks remaining in the league season, the Reds have already been linked with a vast number of players, and sorting through the tenuous and the unlikely to find the one or two more-reliable pieces of information can prove daunting.
There is also, then, the possibility of the deal collapsing late on, or another club entering the chase late on, which sees the player move elsewhere.
Keeping an eye on the global football media, though, it is possible to sort the improbable from the highly possible and therefore give fans tantalising glimpses of what a restructured Liverpool side might look like next season.
At the end of the day, none of these early rumours might be proven right, but here are those which seem to have the most chance of happening.
Possible Incoming Deals
Two of the most prominent rumours surrounding Liverpool ahead of next season involve players currently plying their trade in Holland's Eredivisie, with Ajax.
Defender Toby Alderweireld and playmaking midfielder Christian Eriksen both have just one year remaining on their contract and are set for moves away from Amsterdam ArenA this summer. The Reds have been said to be monitoring Eriksen in particular since as far back as 2011, but more recently it seems that a significant and conscious effort has been made on the part of the club to conclude once and for all whether or not he would be a good fit at Anfield.
Liverpool are interested in Christian Eriksen and Ben Arfa. (Tony Barrett on times webchat) #LFC— Total LFC (@TheTotalLFC) March 11, 2013
Liverpool have been 'frequent visitors' to Ajax amid reports Christian Eriksen is Brendan Rodgers' top target. bit.ly/ZGdAYP— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) March 29, 2013
Marc Overmars has confirmed Liverpool have been 'frequent visitors' to Ajax this season amid reports Christian Eriksen is Brendan Rodgers' top summer transfer target.
Reports in the Dutch and English media have subsequently claimed that Liverpool are favourites to snap up Eriksen in a transfer worth around €20million (£16.9m).
Ajax technical director Overmars would not comment on the transfer rumours, but acknowledged that Liverpool have regularly had scouts watching their games.
"We have a list of scouts from foreign clubs who have visited us and Liverpool have been a frequent visitor," Overmars told De Telegraaf.
Eriksen has been in fine form this season in terms of end product in the final third, though there are still some who question whether he has the consistency to come good in the way that, for example, Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla and Philippe Coutinho have all done since joining the Premier League from other European top flights.
The deal is far from concrete, though (via ESPN).
Some remain skeptical that a bid will materialise at all from Liverpool's end, while still others believe there will be such a big queue for Eriksen's signature that the Reds will be pushed down the line without European football to offer.
no prospect of Eriksen joining #LFC according to Liverpool Echo— Billy Liddell (@Liddellpool) April 26, 2013
Eriksen's teammate Toby Alderweireld is a Belgian international defender who plays centrally for his club and, more often than not, on the right for his nation.
A fantastic technical defender, Alderweireld is not the powerhouse organiser type which the Reds seem to need, but he does certainly bring an amount of stability and could provide balance next season with a more attack-minded full-back on the opposite side.
Initial reports suggested that a deal was certainly expected (via Liverpool Echo), but again, later followed reports that no decision had been taken on Alderweireld's future and that it could yet be that he remains at Ajax (via Goal.com).
Liverpool's representatives have reportedly met 24-year-old Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld’s agent Soren Lerby in Holland.— Premier League (@EPLStuff) April 11, 2013
Liverpool's three main transfer targets for this summer are Ashley Williams, Toby Alderweireld & Christian Eriksen. #LFC— Joseph Musker (@Musker_LFC) April 17, 2013
Again, whether or not a bid materialises, it certainly seems that the Belgian fits the profile of player that Brendan Rodgers is looking for, and his international and European competition experience would also be major plus points.
Finally, Liverpool are certainly going to require at least one central defender this summer, and it may even be more than one.
Modibo Diakite is available on a free transfer this summer with his contract at Lazio coming to an end, and with Jamie Carragher (retiring) and Danny Wilson (contract expiry) both departing the scene in summer without bringing in resale value, a no-cost arrival to boost the squad depth would appeal to Rodgers.
Undoubtedly the biggest drawback to Diakite would be the fact that he has yet to feature at all this season in Serie A. The 26-year-old has made just one appearance all term, in the Coppa Italia, and has not even made the bench since early January.
Regardless, Diakite is sure to draw attention from a number of clubs this summer, and it would be no surprise to see the Reds go after him—or another centre-back in a similar situation of being out of contract.
The first and most distasteful of departures in the eyes of most Kopites would be that of Luis Suarez, but supporters have to acknowledge that the possibility of an exit must have at least risen to 50-50 in the past week.
Already said to be considering an exit due to Liverpool's failure to secure a Top Four place, Suarez has now suffered a massive 10-match ban—his second long suspension in English football—after an incident against Chelsea a little more than a week ago.
Liverpool were expected to suffer in attack without him, but their first match sans Suarez ended up as a 6-0 victory away to Newcastle United.
Suarez suffered another upset on Sunday evening after he was pipped to the PFA Player of the Year award by Gareth Bale of Tottenham, though Suarez did have the consolation of being named in the Team of the Year.
Disgracefully, however, Suarez had his name booed on two occasions by the crowd, largely made up of fellow professional players, during the awards ceremony.
A few loud boos ripple around room when Suarez's name read out for best XI. Only one booed. Perhaps explains why he didn't get enough votes.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) April 28, 2013
Ched Evans (convicted of rape) was cheered as part of the League One Team of 2012. Suarez was booed last night as he bit someone's arm #LFC— Si (@PhantomGoal) April 29, 2013
Looking further afield than the No. 7, on-loan striker Andy Carroll must also surely be a good bet to leave the club.
Having been farmed out to West Ham United late in August, the big front man endured a stop-start first half of the season but has played every league game since the end of January for which he has been eligible.
That run has seen him score six goals in 11 matches, as he proves his worth to the right team playing in a way which lets his strengths shine. What it also shows is that perhaps the Hammers will be seriously needing to consider whether they would be any better off with another forward, or whether Carroll is the piece of the jigsaw which increases the sum of West Ham's parts.
Carroll himself is "open to making the move permanent" according to the BBC, so this could be a move which suits all three parties.
Finally, there certainly appears to be at least one more first-team squad regular who may be headed out this summer, as Martin Skrtel continues to fail to get back into the team and, according to the rumours, there are plenty of sides willing and waiting to take him in July (via Daily Mail).
With still three weeks to run of the present season, and at least double that until any real activity starts to take shape in the summer market, any or all of these could yet run for a very long time—but Liverpool fans should anticipate that these are some of the transfer rumours which have some serious weight to them, even if they don't all turn out exactly as reported.
And no doubt most supporters will be hoping that's the case with the "Suarez to leave" rumours in particular.