5 Things for Liverpool Fans to Look Forward To
Liverpool missed out on the Premier League title by two points despite a heroic effort and 101 goals scored, but there is still plenty for Reds fans to look forward to in the next campaign.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has got his club playing arguably the most exhilarating football in the country, and given the rapid rate of improvement that he and his players have shown in the past year, even more exciting times might be on the way.
Reds fans needn't dwell on the manner in which their team missed out on the league title to Manchester City. Instead, they should focus on what's to come.
Here are five reasons they should be excited.
The Return of Champions League Football to Anfield
Had you told Liverpool supporters their team would end the 2013/14 season by getting back in the Champions League, they would have accepted it straight away.
The same can be said for Rodgers and his players, too.
The picture above shows the last Reds side to play in European football's premier competition—a 2-1 defeat to Fiorentina at Anfield in December 2009, in which the likes of Diego Cavalieri, Stephen Darby and Andrea Dossena were in the team.
Only Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger remain at the club from that XI.
The prospect of the continent's best and brightest heading for Merseyside is sure to whet the appetites of Reds fans desperate to see their side back on the European stage.
Just the thought of the matches will be setting pulses racing.
Being Able to Attract a Higher Standard of Player
One of the more remarkable things about Liverpool's 2013/14 season was that such an impressive standard of performance was achieved following a largely disappointing transfer window.
The likes of Iago Aspas, Victor Moses and Luis Alberto had little or no impact on the team's campaign. However, this summer, Liverpool will be able to target and acquire the kind of players everyone wants.
According to the Liverpool Echo, a bid has already been made for Southampton captain and PFA Player of the Year nominee Adam Lallana, and he is just likely to be the first of several exciting names to be linked to the club this summer.
The Continuing Development of Young Players
Raheem Sterling, Jon Flanagan, Jordan Henderson and others have all come on leaps and bounds in the past few months. Their exposure to the Champions League and experience of a title race is only likely to help them improve more.
All three could end up playing at the World Cup, too, which is only going to take their games to an even higher level.
Liverpool's performances are only going to get better and better as a result, and that will be incredibly exciting to watch.
A Happier Luis Suarez Than This Time Last Year
A year ago, the summer-long saga surrounding Luis Suarez's future was just about to get into full swing, with barely a day going by without a story suggesting that the Uruguayan had played his last game for Liverpool.
The Reds ultimately kept hold of Suarez, and they provided him with a platform to score 31 goals, win the PFA Player of the Year award and shoot the Reds back to the Champions League.
It was a gamble that was worth taking for the Reds, and it ensures that Suarez has secured the top-level European competition that he craves.
Transfer rumours and speculation can't be controlled, of course, but at least the Reds' star man is happier than he was a year ago.
Brendan Rodgers Is Always Learning
The fact Liverpool got so close to winning the Premier League this season was made all the more remarkable by the fact it was only Brendan Rodgers' third campaign as a top-flight manager.
The Northern Irishman is always learning, and he will have picked up so much from the last nine months that he'll be able to take into 2014/15 and beyond.
Key to his plans will of course be improving Liverpool's often leaky defence, but if he can continue to develop at the rate that both he and his players did in 2013/14, there are sure to be even more exciting times ahead.