The season's not yet over, but for many--self included--the draw at Crystal Palace more or less confirmed that Liverpool's unlikely title challenge ends in disappointment. Liverpool should beat Newcastle on Sunday, but a West Ham victory over Manchester City seems a bridge too far, and all signs point to the title remaining in Manchester for a third straight season.
And while results against Chelsea and Palace are still a little too fresh, once we have a little bit more time the sentiment regarding this season's accomplishments won't be quite as tainted with disappointment--jumping from seventh to a likely second-place finish and Champions League qualification is an impressive feat, one upon which Liverpool will surely look to build.
So it's no surprise that Brendan Rodgers has started to look forward ahead of Newcastle's visit this weekend, making mention of the need to retain the squad's current quality while adding the types of players that will help Liverpool challenge both domestically and on the continent during the 2014-2015 season:
"We will strengthen next year; we will add players to our group and our younger players will have a year's experience. You need guys like Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Daniel Agger, those types that the young players can learn from - that's important for them. There's no doubt that we need depth in our squad. We move into the Champions League next season and there are going to be a lot of games for us. It's always about players that have the technical capacity to play how we want to play, players with personality and players that are hungry. Those will be the three key ingredients for the players coming in."
Talk of players coming in has already started in earnest, and while Sky Sports' sources, much like Luis Alberto, probably don't exist, last night they ran with reports that Adam Lallana could be set for a move to Merseyside before his expected involvement at this summer's World Cup for England.
"Southampton have insisted that they have received no official bid for the player from Liverpool. But sources suggest that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is determined to complete a deal to sign Lallana before England depart for Brazil on June 8."
Whether or not it's going to be a thing remains to be seen, but as Noel covered when talk of a move first surfaced at the start of last week, the player's an excellent fit for the squad's needs; the rumored price tag might still be off-putting for some, but Lallana is adaptable throughout the forward part of the midfield and capable of quick interplay in attack, and he's certainly someone who appears to tick the boxes Rodgers outlines above.