Liverpool's next targets
WITH their six-year trophy drought ended, Liverpool must now turn their attentions towards other targets to ensure that a record eighth League Cup is not a short-lived success.
Many players have been asked whether the Carling Cup win can be a springboard to further glory. Similarities have been drawn with Manchester City's FA Cup win last season, their first trophy for 35 years, but their case is slightly different because of the vast sums of money at their disposal. However, lifting a major trophy will do the players, many of whom have not won honours before, the power of good and they have a second shot at silverware this season in the FA Cup.
For a side that have won the European Cup five times, any extended absence from the Champions League is detrimental both from a financial and recruitment point of view. Kenny Dalglish's side remain in the chase for fourth spot but both Arsenal and Chelsea have an advantage over them. Considering the rebuilding job Dalglish has had to do, bringing in nine players in the 14 months he has been in charge, they have made great progress but Champions League qualification may be beyond them this season. Next year looks a better bet.
Strengthening the playing resources will be a major factor in making the step back up to the Champions League. European football in the form of the Europa League will help attract players, with director of football Damien Comolli claiming a number of "big names" are keen to join this summer. Reinforcements are required in midfield, particularly on the right, left-back and up front. By next season Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy, Jamie Carragher and Maxi Rodriguez will all be aged over 31, and younger players need to be brought in and given time to develop.
The owners still have a major decision to make on the club's future home. Planning permission on a new build and the lease on Stanley Park have been extended from last summer but such a huge financial undertaking may not make commercial sense in the current climate. A redevelopment of Anfield is cheaper but is more problematic, but if Liverpool are to grow and match the spending power of City, Manchester United and Chelsea they must increase match-day revenues significantly.