Plotting a Premier League Plan for Brendan Rodgers to Build on at Liverpool

Max Munton@thisisanfieldLiverpool CorrespondentMay 8, 2014

Plotting a Premier League Plan for Brendan Rodgers to Build on at Liverpool

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    According to Dominic King of the Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers is set to be rewarded for the club's outstanding progress since he swapped Swansea for Liverpool in 2012 with a new four-year deal.

    That will keep Rodgers at Anfield until at least 2018, and he will already have plans in motion to build on what has been an incredible season for the club.

    Rodgers has spoken about how the achievement of getting back in the Champions League this season has come "a year ahead of schedule," as per David Maddock of the Mirror.

    Here we pinpoint five important steps for Rodgers and Liverpool to take in order to improve on 2013-14.

1. Rebuild a Broken Defence

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    As Dwight Gayle slipped through Liverpool's defence on Monday night to score Crystal Palace's remarkable equaliser, complete desolation sunk in.

    Glen Johnson stood with his head in his hands. Martin Skrtel, hands on hips, turned towards Johnson and Simon Mignolet stared vacantly on against a backdrop of jubilant Palace fans.

    The warning signs had been there all season, but leaking goals had usually been bailed out by a formidable attack.

    Conceding that 49th goal of the campaign was the final straw and Brendan Rodgers must now look to repair the damage.

    With Johnson, Skrtel and Daniel Agger all on big wages and turning 30 this year, Simon Mignolet, Mamadou Sakho and Jon Flanagan may well be the only survivors in a new-look back line come August.

2. Build a Squad Capable of Challenging on Two Fronts

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    Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

    Having overachieved in 2013-14 without the distraction of European football, Liverpool are preparing for life back in the Champions League.

    That comes with all the positive benefits—including the big Anfield flag nights and the lucrative deals UEFA's elite competition brings.

    It also means that Liverpool's workload is dramatically increased, and with it the demands on the players.

    The Reds are now in the enviable position of having both the money and draw to attract the cream of Europe's talent and Rodgers must now dispose of the deadwood in his squad and build a stronger, more competitive group of players to challenge at the highest level.

3. Win a Trophy

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    Tim Hales/Associated Press

    The confidence Liverpool fans have in Brendan Rodgers is understandably sky high at the moment, having turned a team finishing eighth in the table under Kenny Dalglish into title contenders in under two years.

    The measure of the affection the Kop faithful have for the Northern Irishman has manifested itself in the two passionate songs they have for him.

    Whether the Premier League trophy comes to Anfield on Sunday or not, Rodgers' success will eventually be measured by silverware, such is Liverpool's decorated past.

    The league title is the trophy the fans crave so desperately, but solid cup runs and an exciting journey in the Champions League would be welcomed.

4. Find Steven Gerrard's Long-Term Replacement

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    Alastair Grant/Associated Press

    Rodgers injected new life into Steven Gerrard this season by finding him a new role in between the defence and midfield as a deep-lying holding midfielder.

    Gerrard is still the battle axe of Liverpool and has shown his great pride of being leader of the team on countless occasions this campaign.

    But, at 33 years old and despite being set to sign a new contract, as per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, Gerrard won't be around forever.

    His replacement in the heart of Liverpool's midfield may well already be at the club, or lies in a transfer target for the summer, but the leadership responsibilities must also eventually be passed on.

5. Win the Premier League

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    JON SUPER/Associated Press

    Should Manchester City lose at home to West Ham and Liverpool beat Newcastle at Anfield this Sunday, Rodgers will have pulled off arguably the biggest success story in the club's history.

    In that scenario, Rodgers will have jumped straight to point five of this plan and brought the coveted league title home to Merseyside.

    If that's the case, the same points for progress will remain as Rodgers looks to build on a wonderful season for the club. The next job for Rodgers will be retaining the title and challenging in Europe.

    Should Man City claim the title for their own with a win or a draw, then Rodgers and Liverpool can reflect on a fantastic season of progress and look to build a title-winning team in the not-so-distant future.