5 Things for Liverpool Fans to Look Forward to in 2015/16 Premier League Season
After a dismal sixth-placed finish in the Premier League in 2014/15, Liverpool need to put their failures behind them and plan for the next campaign. But what is there for Reds supporters to look forward to in 2015/16?
Having at least qualified for the Europa League through their league finish, it's not all doom and gloom on Merseyside, but Anfield would be forgiven for being a battlefield of disheartenment as Brendan Rodgers takes his side forward.
Nevertheless, here are five things Liverpool fans can look forward to in the 2015/16 Premier League season.
More Philippe Coutinho Magic
Without a doubt, Liverpool's best player in 2014/15 was Philippe Coutinho.
Cleaning up at the club's end-of-season awards with four individual honours—Player of the Year, Players' Player of the Year, Performance of the Year and Goal of the Year, according to the club's official website—as well as being recognised by his contemporaries at the PFA awards, this was Coutinho's campaign.
That he only truly came to top form toward the end of 2014, after being switched to a more natural, central position, highlights how he can continue to improve next season.
His ability to change games single-handedly, and his newfound power in front of goal, showcase a player undergoing swift development.
Turning 23 in June, 2015/16 could be the season Coutinho reaches world-class level.
Jordon Ibe, Academy Stars' Development
Another of few bright points from 2014/15 for Liverpool was the integration of 19-year-old winger Jordon Ibe into Rodgers' first team.
Ibe returned from a loan spell with Championship challengers Derby County in January with question marks over his ability to perform at the top end of the Premier League, but he quickly disproved this with a series of outstanding, fearless displays.
Signing a new five-year contract in May, as reported by James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, Ibe is set for a bright future on Merseyside, and he will continue to develop next season.
It's not only Ibe that Liverpool supporters can look forward to watching next season, though, with academy stars such as Ryan Kent, Sheyi Ojo, Jerome Sinclair, Cameron Brannagan and Harry Wilson all ones to watch.
A Fit-Again Daniel Sturridge
A large factor in Liverpool's ineptitude in 2014/15 was the lack of a top-class striker, and Daniel Sturridge's prolonged injury issues were the main reason for this.
Sturridge made only 12 appearances for the Reds in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old is Liverpool's best striker, their prime source of goals and their attacking spearhead, and even if Rodgers is to target another first-choice centre-forward this summer, Sturridge's fitness is paramount.
Undergoing hip surgery in Boston earlier in May, Sturridge is set to miss the start of 2015/16 while he recovers, according to Andy Hunter of the Guardian, but this will hopefully be the end of his worries.
2015/16 could see the return of a fit-again and on-form Sturridge.
6 Points Against Norwich City?
Norwich City secured promotion to the Premier League through the Championship play-offs this season, and their return will bring wry joy to Liverpool supporters.
As relayed by LFCHistory.net, Liverpool's last five encounters with the Canaries in the Premier League have all resulted in significant victories.
The Reds scored 21 goals in those five games, conceding just five, although Liverpool have lost their scourge of Norfolk in Luis Suarez, with the Uruguayan having scored 12 goals against them in his time at the club.
Impressive young manager Alex Neil may have other ideas, and supporters have no right to rest on their laurels, but Liverpool will be quietly confident the next time they head to Carrow Road in the Premier League.
A New Manager?
The main talking point for Liverpool supporters as we head into the summer is the future of Rodgers as manager of the club.
After such a poor showing in 2014/15, the Ulsterman will head to Boston to discuss his future with owners Fenway Sports Group—many will be hoping that this results in Rodgers being handed his P45.
If Rodgers' sacking is the conclusion of these discussions, Liverpool supporters could look forward to a new Reds manager next season.
Jurgen Klopp, soon to be departing Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, would be the ideal candidate, and with German publication Bild (h/t This is Anfield) recently indicating that he would be interested in a move to England this summer, this may not be an unrealistic expectation.
2015/16 could be a season of great hope for Liverpool supporters.