12 Things for Liverpool to Be Positive About Heading into the 2014/15 Season
Liverpool's non-World Cup players returned to pre-season training this week, and they kick off their busy summer of friendlies in Copenhagen next week against FC Brondby.
Brendan Rodgers' side are looking to build on their successful 2013/14 campaign and must do so without the mercurial talents of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan's departure appears imminent, as per Jack De Menezes of The Independent.
The squad rebuilding has begun in earnest, with Rickie Lambert, Emre Can and Adam Lallana having already joined.
Rodgers is seeking a left-back, a centre-back, a wide forward and a centre-forward in the remaining weeks of the transfer window, but regardless of those arrivals, there are plenty of reasons to be positive for Liverpool fans in 2014/15.
Champions League Nights
The draw is on August 28; the first match is on September 16 or 17. Bring it on!
Rickie Lambert in Red
The lifelong Liverpool fan and local lad signed for the club in May, completing a dream turnaround for the 32-year-old.
Removing the emotional impact of the move, Lambert is also a player who will profit under Brendan Rodgers, capable of playing in the centre-forward role or alongside Daniel Sturridge in attack.
Roy Hodgson Not in Charge
If you sat through England's three World Cup games, you'll likely have found yourself being thankful for the style of play which Brendan Rodgers has fostered at Anfield.
Midfielders Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson will be rejoicing at not being paired in a flat, exposed midfield two and will instead return to their more favoured roles within a midfield three.
Development of Raheem Sterling
He's still only 19 years old; Raheem Sterling is emerging as one of Europe's brightest talents, and his development will continue in 2014/15.
In wake of Suarez's departure, Sterling could revel in a more advanced role for Liverpool.
Philippe Coutinho's Development
Much like Sterling, Philippe Coutinho is another who can profit from Suarez's departure.
The Brazilian is only 22 and really started to impress when used in a more central role for Liverpool last season. If he can add more goals to his game and continue to improve his work off the ball, Liverpool have got a real gem on their hands.
Whether you agree with the reported price or not, Lallana looks like he is just the type of player who will prosper under Rodgers at Liverpool.
Named in the PFA Team of the Year last year, Lallana could line up alongside Gerrard and Henderson in midfield to provide an all-English trio that has energy, technique, attitude and creativity at its core.
After years—make that decades—of the stadium issue being unresolved, plans are in place to expand Anfield, beginning with the Main Stand.
When supporters arrive at Anfield on the opening day in August, they'll find the houses directly behind the Main Stand completely demolished. More will follow over the autumn, and construction work is pencilled in for late 2014/early 2015.
The new Main Stand is set to open for the 2016/17 campaign, taking the capacity to 54,000.
Dancing Daniel Sturridge
A dancing Sturridge can mean only one thing: He's just scored a goal.
It's easy to forget that the 24-year-old scored 24 goals in all competitions last season. He'll be the key player in Suarez's absence and could really profit from being the main central forward in a new-look front three.
Last season, Liverpool's squad options consisted of Aly Cissokho, Victor Moses, Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas.
Three of those four have already left the club, albeit Alberto is only on loan, while the fourth is also linked with a move away.
If you were to name Liverpool's likely starting XI, you'd have a host of quality players left on the bench and not even in the squad.
The arrival of Emre Can (pictured above) is just one of the host of options available to Rodgers.
More Summer Signings
With Suarez's move reported to be worth £75 million to Liverpool, as per De Menezes, Rodgers will have a lot of money to spend over the final six weeks of the transfer window.
Rodgers' aforementioned list of priorities seems to indicate that an even more impressive squad will be taking shape when the transfer window closes.
No Ugly 3rd Kit
That purple monstrosity wasn't the best, was it?
This year's third kit doubles up as the "European away kit": predominantly black, sporting grey stripes and a bizarre red slash. It's still not great, but at least it's not purple.
The Liverpool boss has united the club, got them playing exciting, attacking football and achieved more progress in two years than supporters could have realistically imagined.
A third season at Anfield will see Rodgers build on the work he's already done.