With the season effectively over for Liverpool and the club left playing for pride as they prepare for the derby on Sunday, the biggest question becomes what comes next for Brendan Rodgers. Having spent the current season setting the foundations, the expectations will now jump from showing signs of improvement to making it back into the top four.
The consensus is that Rodgers will at the very least get next season to prove he can do that—that he can take the club from promise and improvement to getting it back into the Champions League. The question, then, is how he goes about doing it and, with the summer transfer window approaching, who he brings in to help get him there.
"I just think we need a bit more depth and a bit more quality," he told Sky Sports. "The players this year have done very well. I have asked everything of them and, in the main, they have done very well. The majority of the time, there have not been too many performances where I have been really disappointed."
Even if he's been largely happy with his players so far this season, and even if Liverpool appear at least fairly well stocked in midfield and attack, Rodgers is going to need more than just a bit more depth and quality when it comes to the backline. At fullback, Martin Kelly remains an injury concern, Jose Enrique remains the only senior left back, and Glen Johnson's play has suffered after a season spent as first choice on the right and second choice on the left.
The situation at centre back, meanwhile, is even more uncertain with Jamie Carragher's impending retirement. Throw in Martin Skrtel's now months long demotion to the bench and that Sebastian Coates' biggest contribution since arriving from Nacional has been to sing "Hey Jude" with Philippe Coutinho, and it's clear that Rodgers will need at least one and possibly two big name signings at the back.
"The club respect where we need to strengthen and where we need to improve," he added. "We have seen from the last window in January, we got our business done early and brought in two outstanding players in Sturridge and Coutinho.
"Hopefully we will have a similar impact in the summer. If we can do that, that will make me really happy with the group going forward."
If the club can pick up a defender or two whose impact is similar to what Coutinho and Sturridge have brought to the attack, a lot of fans will be happy with the group going forward, too.