With Kenny Dalglish exiled from Anfield, and spirits rising after Brendan Rodgers was announced as his replacement, Liverpool are now looking to add talent to a squad that many felt underachieved its way to an eighth-place finish in the Premier League.
The first big news of Rodgers' reign was not an addition, but a subtraction. Dutch midfielder Dirk Kuyt departed from the club to join Turkish club Fenderbahce. Kuyt had a disappointing individual season to add to Liverpool's woes, with only two goals. The Dutch midfielder was nothing but supportive of the new manager, and he told the club's official Web site that he saw Rodgers as able to, lift the club up to a higher state.
Since his appointment, Rodgers has been rumored to be looking at many talented players. The Daily Star reported that Rodgers has been given £20 million to pursue some of his top targets. A big name amongst those targets is one of the most recognizable players in U.S. soccer: Clint Dempsey.
The Texas native is coming off of a record-setting season at Fulham, in which he scored one third of the goals for the middle-of-the-table squad and became the all-time U.S. goal-scoring leader in the Premier League. After the season concluded with a ninth place finish, Dempsey expressed his desire to play with a stronger club.
In an interview with SI.com, Dempsey addressed his interest in playing Champions League Football. The transfer window is open until August 31 - It's no secret that I would like to play Champions League one day in my career.
The Daily Mail reported that with that statement, Dempsey has also sparked the interest of Champions League-bound Arsenal and Manchester United. Liverpool did not earn a spot in the 2012-2013 Champions League season, but a club with such a rich history and strong pool of talent could finish in the top four next year with Dempsey playing for them.
Aside from an attacking midfielder like Dempsey, Rodgers is looking to add a talented winger to replace Kuyt. Disgruntled Juventus midfielder Milos Krasic is a player that might fit the description.
Krasic fell out of favor with Juventus boss Antonio Conte last season, and a move to Anfield has been speculated since the January transfer window. Skysports.com reported that a move to Liverpool is a possibility, according to Krasic's representative Dejan Joksimovic.
An outside option to join the team is AZ Alkmaar's Rasmus Elm. The talented Swedish international and free-kick specialist is open to offers -- just not now. Elm has stated that he feels good at AZ, and will not be open to negotiations until after the Euro 2012 tournament as Sweden will be looking to emerge from a tough group that includes England, France, and Ukraine, the tournament's co-host.
The transfer market is not the only place for Rodgers to find quality. Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani are both returning from season-long loans next season. Goal.com reported that Rodgers will be speaking to both of them about their futures with the club after they enjoyed successful stints with Lille and Milan, respectively, last season.
Cole has a relationship with Rodgers from when he coached Cole as a member of Jose Mourinho's staff at Chelsea, so it seems likely that he will return. Aquilani may be a different story though, as after his second season back in Italy, following a spell with Juventus, the Italian international may not be keen on a return to England.
The boy Aquilani is a wonderful talent and a terrific player but he might not be able to settle, said Rodgers.
Rodgers could also fill holes on his team by signing recently released Salomon Kalou. At 26, Kalou is still relatively young and Liverpool had been linked to the Ivory Coast international since last year.
Junior Hoilett is another released player that drew interest from Liverpool during the January transfer window. NESN.com reported Liverpool's interest in Hoilett. NESN is owned by Fenway Sports Group, which is also the parent company of Liverpool. Of course, both Hoilett and Kalou were pursued by former manager Kenny Dalglish, so Rodgers may target other players that match his style.
It has also been speculated that a number of Swansea City players plan to follow Rodgers to Anfield.
Rodgers even plans to snatch up a Swan-to-be Gylfi Sigurdsson, before he can even complete a move to the club. Sigurdsson impressed after joining from German club Hoffenheim on-loan in January and, according to Rodgers, only decided to join the club permanently to continue under Rodgers tutelage.
Before leaving for Liverpool, Rodgers reached an agreement with Swansea owner Huw Jenkins that he would not take any players with him for at least 12 months, but Metro reported that Rodgers does not feel Sigurdsson is covered by this agreement, and is leaving it up to the player to decide.
Sigurdsson is not the only player that Rodgers is allegedly planning to bring from Swansea. The Daily Mirror reports that Rodgers could raid Swansea of defender Ashley Williams, and winger Scott Sinclair.
Metro also reported that a deal could be on the table for 22-year-old midfielder Joe Allen.
All three players were vital to Swansea's surprising 11th place finish last season and without them, the Welsh club could be sent back down to the English League Championship after two seasons.
This early into transfer season it is difficult to tell who will actually end up on Merseyside under Rodgers.If the Northern Irishman is able to land just a few of these key players, Liverpool may be able to reestablish its place in the big four and compete with Premier League superpowers.