Twelve months ago, Liverpool were reeling from narrowly missing out on the Premier League crown to Manchester City, but could console themselves that they had genuinely challenged for the league title and had all the ingredients to make another attempt in 2014/15.
Since then, Luis Suarez's antics in the Brazil World Cup forced a sale to Barcelona, Steven Gerrard announced he was leaving the club, Daniel Sturridge has endured chronic injuries and faces question marks over his future fitness, and Raheem Sterling has become a contract rebel. Add to that doubts over the security of Brendan Rodgers' position as manager and a string of failed signings taking up wages at Anfield, and it is a sorry picture at the famous club who have finished a disappointing sixth in the final table.
Former Liverpool and England midfielder Jamie Redknapp has told Sky Sports that he feels next season will be a pivotal one for Liverpool, with so much upheaval in key areas. "It's going to be a difficult summer. Gerrard is leaving, you’re going to have the Raheem Sterling debacle, which is going to run and run and run, then what do you do with Mario Balotelli? Keep him or sell him?"
Redknapp feels the key decisions are so plentiful that it is a make or break summer for the club, and Liverpool fans will be feeling they have been here many times before, where a failing side is broken up and another re-build takes place.
"It's going to be the toughest season for Liverpool in many, many years," Redknapp continued "there are so many players I feel aren’t good enough to play for Liverpool and maybe their future isn’t there, but how do you get them out of the door and then get the right players to come in?
"If you think Rodgers is the right man, do you trust him with another £100m? That’s a problem for him because the recruitment this year hasn’t really worked, the players they’ve bought in haven’t been of the top level of the players who have gone out."
Players such as Southampton trio Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana have failed to shine, and big money was also spent on Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic and Emre Can last summer, and they have also left fans unconvinced.
The nucleus of Liverpool's side is now formed by midfielders Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho, but around them there are some huge holes to fill. This is most notably up front, where Sturridge managed just seven starts and Liverpool regularly played without a recognised striker. With Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea all likely to be in the market for a new striker in the summer, it will be extremely difficult for Liverpool to compete for the best available, to fill the considerable boots of Luis Suarez, which they failed to do last summer.
While many fans have given up on Brendan Rodgers - with vocal dissent evident during Sunday's 6-1 defeat at Stoke - Redknapp is a little more generous: "I would keep Rodgers after the job he did last year, when they played some fantastic football," he said. "But when you're getting beaten 6-1 at the end of the season, it doesn't do you any good whatsoever.
"Are you going to trust him with another £100m? Because that's what I genuinely feel it needs."
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