The story of Liverpool’s 2013/14 season was a breath of fresh air for Premier League fans; it showed us that playing with heart and tactical nous can rival even the most star-studded of squads.
Though their efforts came up just a few points short, every player in the Reds’ infantry played their part in what was a superb campaign on Merseyside.
Brendan Rodgers rightly claimed the LMA Manager of the Year award, but his hard work isn’t over yet, as he needs to keep some of his biggest names in red for the coming season.
Here, we take a look at two Liverpool stars that could be heading for the Anfield exit door.
With skipper Steven Gerrard taking up the holding midfield role and making it his own, chances were few and far between for Brazilian star Lucas over the course of the campaign.
Upon signing for Liverpool in 2007, Lucas struggled to find the kind of form that made him a star with Gremio, but he’s improved dramatically in the last few seasons.
His composed nature, together with a broad range of passing, makes him the ideal defensive midfielder, however, he was only given 20 Premier League starts this season, according to WhoScored.com, and such a lack of regular football has cost him his place in Brazil’s World Cup squad.
With his first-team future under threat at Anfield, the Brazilian may be looking to move on to once again enjoy that centre-stage feeling.
Following the completion of the 2013/14 season, Lucas took to Instagram, where it appeared he was saying an emotional goodbye to fans:
Though he backtracked the farewell, he’s been linked with a move to Italian giants Inter Milan; and told FC Inter News that while no offers have been made just yet, he’s an admirer of Serie A—per Sky Sports:
I can say that at the moment I have received no offers. Liverpool have never contacted me regarding this possibility (moving to Inter). So I can't say there is a chance of me going to Inter because I am under contract at Liverpool. Serie A definitely is a great league though.
The promise of first-team football could be enough to lure Lucas to the San Siro, and he’ll likely enter talks with manager Rodgers in the near future regarding his importance to the Reds’ cause.
Centre-back Daniel Agger has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League since arriving on Merseyside in 2006 but, like Lucas, he hasn’t managed to earn a regular spot in Liverpool’s team this season.
Agger has been untouchable in recent seasons, but he’s seen his place in the side taken by Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel, managing just 20 league appearances, per WhoScored.com.
With the Reds set to bolster their back line in a busy summer of transfers, the Danish international could be on his way out, with Rafa Benitez reportedly keen to take the 29-year-old to Italy, according to Ben Jefferson of the Express.
Benitez signed Agger during his time in the Liverpool hot seat and has encountered problems with his Napoli defence this season—shipping 38 goals in 37 games so far.
The Spanish manager believes that Agger is the right man to lead his side from the back, with their failure to challenge for the Serie A title being heavily blamed on the defence by fans of the Naples club.
Losing a player of Agger’s calibre would be a big loss to Liverpool, though, especially since their shaky defence cost them the Premier League title this season, too.
The Reds were breached 50 times in the league over the course of the campaign, and while Rodgers knows what he’s doing, you can’t help but think that utilising Agger’s defensive and leadership qualities more frequently this season could have improved that statistic.
And here’s something for Rodgers to think about: According to the Daily Mail, Agger’s Premier League win percentage for players who have made more than 10 appearances this season is the league best, with 85 per cent.
With Liverpool back among Europe’s elite in the Champions League next season, having a player of Agger’s quality at their disposal is crucial, even as a backup.
However, whether or not the Dane will be happy watching the majority of the action from the stands will determine whether or not he’ll remain a Red next season.