With Liverpool almost certain to return to the Champions League barring a monumental collapse over the final ten games of the season, five years in exile from Europe's top competition appears at its end. Even if Liverpool don't win the title this year, it will be a monumental achievement for a side many thought was a year away from mounting a serious top four challenge.
Whether they can manage to win the league or just to make it back into the top four, though, returning to Europe a year early poses challenges for a squad that has even this season appeared to be dangerously thin at times. While praising Brendan Rodgers' achievement, managing director Ian Ayre stressed the money to strengthen the squad will be there this summer.
"We all had great faith in Brendan when he was appointed and I think he had a huge challenge in front of him," said Ayre following the release of the club's latest financial numbers. "I mean we all did—but no one more than Brendan, because he comes to one of the biggest football clubs in the world where expectation is high and there was a lot of work to do.
"In his first season he would admit—and would admit it publicly—that there was a lot of finding his feet and starting to impart his philosophy and his style into the team. I think what we have seen this year is that starting to grow and prosper. And we’ll continue to add to the team and support him in putting additional players into the group."
Early signs of public backing for new signings are positive, but for many the proof will be in action and not words after a series of high profile misses in recent transfer windows. This season, Liverpool have moved past top four talk and made it a reality. Similarly, talk of building a squad deep enough to compete across multiple competitions can't just be talk this time around—not if Liverpool are to hold on to their gains.
"If you want to win anything, then you have to believe you can win it," added the managing director. "So I’m sure the players and everyone else will be focused on winning every game and if that brings the top prize then that will be unbelievable. And if it brings Champions League football, then it will still be a fantastic season for us."