5 things Liverpool need to do to challenge for the league next season

Nathan Rodgers01 June 2011 - 14:00

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It's now been over five years since Liverpool lifted a piece of silverware, and following Man Utd’s historic 19th title all eyes are now on the boys from Merseyside to put the Benitez and Hodgson days behind them and up their game. Whether or not they can rise to the challenge is a different matter, with competition tougher than it's ever been amongst the 'big six' at the top of the Premier League. Dalglish has a bit of work on his hands if he's going to take the Reds back to the glory days experienced when he graced the pitch,  but here are Sport.co.uk's five things that will better their chances of success. Not that 'King Kenny' needs any help in the eyes of supporters that is...


 
1.) Have a clear out
 
Liverpool have struggled to rotate players this season and suffered injuries as a result, a problem not helped by having a huge squad of first team players that should be competing for places on the bench rather than being automatically selected to start. Dalglish needs to thin out the dead wood, starting with Joe Cole, whose tenure at Merseyside has been disappointing to say the least. Also following the ex Chelsea player out the door should be Koncensky, Kyrgiakos, Degan, Poulson, Jovanvic,Ngog, Darby, Insua, El Zhar, and Aquilani, who's pretty much already gone to Juventus anyway. Put together, that’s about £25 million in the kitty for starters towards a rebuild.


 
2.)  Strengthen the defence
 
Letting Kyrgiakos go would still leave Liverpool with Carragher, Agger, Skrtel, Wilson, Kelly and possibly Ayala, all of which play best at centre back, despite Kelly also performing well at the right back position when filling in for Johnson. Liverpool need a player at some point to replace the ageing Carragher, but a solid centre half also wouldn't go amiss. Amongst the rumoured signings, Bolton's Gary Cahill, Lyon's Dejan Lovren, and Blackburn's Phil Jones are rumoured to be targeted.
 
But it's at left back that Liverpool have a real problem,  with Konchesky performing so badly he got lent out to Notts Forest last season, Aurelio suffering from constant injury problems and Jack Robinson too young at 17 to realistically make first team every game. Dalglish is said to be keen on the 25-year-old Honduran international Emilio Izaguirre currently at Celtic or Newcastle's Jose Enrique, who could make an impact here.


 
3.) Sort out the midfield
 
Liverpool need a top class midfielder to replace the departing Aquilani, and a decent winger to take the place of Joe Cole. Supporters will no doubt still be pinning hopes on Charlie Adam, who would fit the team nicely, and has the potential to go on to become a Kop legend. Failing signing the Blackpool player, the Reds are also said to chasing Ajax midfield ace Vurnon Anita, or possibly Feyenoord's Georginio Wijnaldum.
 
On the wing, Dalglish is rumoured to be looking at the Ghanean André Ayew currently at Marseille and Moukandjo from recently relegated Monaco, both of whom would suit the team nicely. Ashley Young, despite proclaiming recently he would only leave Villa for Man United, could also be in the mix.


 
4.) Another striker is needed
 
Ngog has never really performed, and supporters can only pray he's for the door before the start of next season. Kuyt is a trusty workhorse, whilst Suarez gave us insight into his massive potential and talent. Carroll, although suffering from injuries last season, should be fit after a summer rest and hopefully less injury prone. If Liverpool are going to compete at the highest level next season, a fourth striker is needed to enable rotation. Perhaps the Ivory Coast striker Gervinho currently at Lille could fit the bill.


 
5.) Keep up the optimism but manage expectations
 
Liverpool were a different team in the second half of last season, with the installation of Dalglish bringing with it a confidence boost to players and supporters alike. The team racked up an impressive 33 points in the period following Christmas, second only to Chelsea’s 35. It's clear that this success has created an atmosphere of hope and glory once again at Anfield, but 'King Kenny' needs to be careful to manage the sky high expectations of the Kop, who will no doubt expect big things next season.
 
This unity and togetherness has to continue, with the infighting that so dominated the Beitez and Hodgson days kept firmly resigned to history. The team and supporters need to have faith in their manager, regardless of results next season, and Dalglish will need time to build on the mess left by his predecessors.

However, with Europe not on the agenda, you feel that the scousers have to seriously challenge for all three domestic competitions next season  to keep the optimism and confidence going at Anfield Road.  To do this needs team rotation, which in turn needs an injection of cash from New England Sports Ventures, the team's new owner following the Hicks and Gillet saga.
 

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