The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is less than 60 days away, and England fans should be buoyed by the form of Liverpool heading into the end of the Premier League season.
While nobody expects England to win the summer's showpiece event in South America, their prospects look a little brighter thanks to Brendan Rodgers' outfit, which is packed with Englishmen.
And if the likes of Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Glenn Johnson and Jordan Henderson can take the form they have shown of late to Brazil, it may not be the usual doom and gloom in June for the Three Lions.
Read on to see how the Reds' star players hold the key to England's progress this summer.
High on Confidence
While Liverpool are by no means guaranteed to win the league title this season, their 10th consecutive win against Manchester City on Sunday, per ESPN.co.uk, makes them favourites.
They couldn't, could they? Liverpool win 10 games in a row and are now the only team who can win out to win the title http://t.co/c9MqiU07bv— ESPN.co.uk (@ESPNUK) April 13, 2014
Very few would have predicted Liverpool glory at the beginning of the season, but if they can see it through and win their first title since 1990, they will take enormous confidence with them to Brazil.
English players have been key to Liverpool's success this season. Sturridge is the second top goalscorer in the Premier League, per BBC Sport, having found the net 20 times.
Meanwhile, 33-year-old Gerrard has rarely had a better season in the Premier League. Indeed, this stat via OptaJoe suggests it may be the veteran's best term ever in the top flight:
23 - 2013-14 is the first season that Steven Gerrard has managed double figures for both goals (13) and assists (10) in the PL. Captain.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 13, 2014
Furthermore, the much-maligned Henderson has looked fantastic, despite being sent off against City, and Sterling showed great imagination and skill when scoring the first against the Sky Blues, with WhoScored.com rating him incredibly highly:
COMPETITION: The highest rated English player in the PL this weekend was Raheem Sterling (8.98); second Puncheon (8.78), third Kane (8.16)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 14, 2014
If Liverpool can continue their form into the end of the season and win the title, the core of players at the club would be brimming with confidence and, as the BBC's Natalie Pirks points out, this could have a positive effect on the rest of the England team.
What would effect on England be if Liverpool win the league? The confidence In Stevie G, Sterling, Sturridge, Johnson etc is infectious— Natalie Pirks (@Natpirks) April 13, 2014
Steven Gerrard is nothing if not passionate, a fact perfectly illustrated by his impassioned and emotional team talk following Sunday's win.
A defining win & game. The tears in the eyes of the remarkable Gerrard tell you just want that meant, and why Liverpool simply had to win.— Dan Roan (@danroan) April 13, 2014
And there is a huge amount of good will toward the midfielder, who has been a stalwart of the English game for so many years.
Former England striker Gary Lineker represents what many feel about Gerrard, even those who are not Liverpool supporters:
I'm going to put my neutrality to one side and say I would love to see Steven Gerrard lift the Premier League trophy.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 13, 2014
He will lead England out in the World Cup, and if he can inspire the national team as he does his club, then surely Roy Hodgson's side will have enough against Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica to make it past the group stages.
And his great skill, never more present than it has been this season, will be essential in the summer.
He has played in a deeper-lying midfield role this season, which could be replicated for England.
This would allow for the not-inconsiderable creative talents of his Liverpool team-mates, as well as the likes of Wayne Rooney and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, to flourish in front of him.
And if nothing else, he should be a guaranteed scorer if England are once again presented with the dreaded prospect of a penalty shootout. Gerrard has certainly had the practice.
Steven Gerrard: Has scored more penalties (10) than 95 of the 98 teams in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season & as many as the remaining 3— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 7, 2014
Past overconfidence and hyperbole concerning England's World Cup prospects seem to have been replaced this year by greater caution and pessimism.
The overwhelming perception seems to be that England would do well just to get out of their group with Uruguay, Costa Rica and Italy.
Indeed, the Times' Tony Barrett makes the point that some have earmarked England's group as nigh-on impossible to escape from:
Judging by some of the reaction to the draw England must be in a group with Brazil 1970, Hungary 1953 & Spain 2010.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) December 7, 2013
Looked at more rationally, England should be able to beat Costa Rica, meaning a victory over Italy or Uruguay would likely see them through to the knockout rounds.
And here again, England's Liverpool contingent could be helpful.
The Reds' Luis Suarez offers the biggest threat to England in the Uruguay game, and the Liverpool gang should have some tips on how to stop him.
If Johnson and Gerrard can stop their club team-mate, then just maybe England can defeat the South American side—whom they play second after Italy—and put themselves in a good position to qualify from the group.