I look back at the 2013-14 season with nothing but pride. Liverpool made up a staggering 23 points on their previous campaign, yet there is still a real sense of disappointment that we narrowly missed out on a first Premier League title.
Liverpool may have lost 31 goal Luis Suarez to Barcelona since, but I think as a team these disappointments will only make us stronger. At the back end of last season many people were saying we did not have the strength in depth to even get into the Champions League but we silenced them all with a brand of football that decimated defences.
I am confident that this year that will only get better. We may have lost 31 goals and 12 assists from Luis Suarez, but I remain confident that in losing him, we have gained at least 25 goals and a lot more creativity from Can, Lambert, Lallana and Markovic.
Anyhow, it was not goal scoring that was Liverpool’s problem last season, it was defending.
Step up Dejan Lovren, the new £20million signing from Southampton. The Croatian is just what Liverpool need in central defence, somebody that will push the line up with absolutely no fear.
I know this because Lovren averaged 2.7 interceptions per game for Southampton last season, the nearest Liverpool player to this was Lucas Leiva with 1.9, whilst our nearest central defender was Martin Skrtel with 1.7.
These sort of statistics are what win you games in the Premier League, winning the ball and driving up field are what Liverpool were exceptional at last season, but with Lovren this will only get better.
Lovren is also a lot less error prone than Martin Skrtel, with the Slovakian making four crucial errors last season.
In comparison, there were not many central defenders with better statistics than Lovren, who made just the one error last season – only Gary Cahill did better than the Croat without making a single crucial error.
Of course Liverpool are still not done bolstering their defence, but with the return of Jose Enrique to the side Liverpool now have a natural left back at their disposal.
With Enrique in the side, Liverpool only conceded 5 goals in 7 matches including 3 clean sheets at the start of the Premier League campaign.
Enrique will certainly solidify our back four but also his speed and power will only add goals to our attack as well.
The next big factor is that these players are all now a year older and wiser, having faced a year of hard work in a title race and also a World Cup.
The likes of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge now need to improve on their performances last season.
Daniel Sturridge has been an outstanding acquisition for Liverpool since signing from Chelsea for £12million last January, yet you feel there is still more to come.
Sturridge possesses raw ability that most players would dream of, he has a fantastic connection with the whole Liverpool midfield and watching him, Sterling and Coutinho link up last season was glorious at times. The understanding between those three players will only grow and develop with more experience.
The fact Sturridge knows that last year he should have scored more than 21 goals tells you something. Despite the 24-year-old’s deadliness in the big games against Everton and Arsenal, he was perhaps not quite the same against the smaller clubs.
That energy was just not quite there, and now he does not have Suarez around to steal his thunder I expect Sturridge to improve on last season’s tally.
You also have to look at the fact Sturridge was injured at key points in our season. For example he missed the whole of December including games away at Chelsea and City, and went into the big game against Chelsea at Anfield totally unfit.
Then we have Sterling and Coutinho, two young players who have outstanding ability but now is the year to show it consistently not just for Liverpool but for themselves.
They now have serious competition for places in this squad, with Markovic and Lallana arriving as well as younger players like Jordon Ibe beginning to show real promise.
Coutinho last year registered five goals and seven assists for Liverpool in what was an impressive campaign, but considering how highly we rate him not quite good enough.
I found that last year with Coutinho his finishing at times was pretty poor, but you can only expect this to improve as time goes on.
There is no doubt that this season many fans will be expecting him to hit double figures.
It is also important to remember Coutinho missed a large chunk of our season as well, so surely these statistics will only get better from him.
The player that excites me the most is Raheem Sterling, and attacker with unbelievable pace and skill for someone at the age of 19.
I personally think he is going to be a superstar.
When we want to talk about rapid development in youngsters, Sterling is a prime example.
Raheem got seven goals and three assists more than he managed during his breakthrough 2012-13 campaign.
As well as this he broke into the England team, shone at the World Cup, and is now a guaranteed starter if he continues to perform the way he is.
Theo Walcott, considered one of the top young wingers that England has seen emerge for a long time, was not reaching those sorts of goal scoring figures until the age of 21-22.
In Walcott’s last full Premier League season, he managed to get 14 goals and 10 assists for Arsenal – often playing in a central striking role.
Sterling’s performances last season seemed to indicate he is a good two or three years ahead of his development.
Either way, to be anywhere near the level of Walcott at just 19 years of age is worth praising Sterling and Rodgers.
My final point I am going to make, is that after mentioning only one new signing in Lovren, and having looked to argue our first choice front three will improve upon last season,I have barely mentioned our new attacking talents signed this summer.
Emre Can who is one of the most versatile youngsters I have seen in Europe, capable of playing left back, holding midfield and central midfield, and is someone who has the potential to make a huge impact this season.
Last season when Jordan Henderson served his three match suspension Liverpool’s form clearly dipped.
In that three game period our defence conceded seven goals, which is a totally unacceptable figure for a team challenging for a Premier League title. I believe a big factor in this was down to the absence of midfield energy.
Henderson won the ball back 172 times last season for Liverpool, and also created a total of 62 chances for his teammates – more than both Aaron Ramsey and Yaya Toure.
Emre Can will provide that same level of quality for Liverpool in time, except he is probably more physical and also more skilful than Henderson.
So far during pre-season we have seen Can burst past defenders with ease and even perform some nutmegs, but also track back and cover for his team mates.
Rodgers has signed proven Premier League experience in the form of Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, but fellow new boy Lazar Markovic is more of an unknown quantity.
Markovic who has made a meteoric rise through world football over the past two seasons.
He has moved from Partizan Belgrade, to Benfica and from there onto Liverpool – having won titles with both clubs – this sort of rise does not happen often especially with the £20million fee that went with him.
Liverpool have now added a burst of pace to their counter attack, but also a player that has so much confidence in his abilities.
He was named in the Europa League team of the year last season despite only coming in after the group stages, and also pushed his way into the title winning Benfica side.
Markovic seems to have a will to win and huge confidence for someone so young. He said upon his arrival he has come to Liverpool to be a champion, and looks driven to get the best for his team and always look to get at defenders whether it is the first or last minute of a game – we all witnessed that in the recent friendly against Olympiakos.
He may not have had many touches in the final third, but every time he had the ball he looked a threat, and he was unlucky not to score in a promising first half display.
So this is how it looks for Liverpool currently heading into the 2014-15 season, and with the club having a net spend of only £12 million, you can only expect there to be more quality added to the squad.
There is every reason to be hopeful that this season will prove to be just exciting as the last.
Do you share the opinion the Reds are going to improve upon their performance last season? Or are we in for a season of transition with all the new arrivals? Let us know your thoughts below.