A seven-point plan for Brendan Rodgers to fix Liverpool this summer

ANALYSIS: The Liverpool boss is under huge pressure from supporters and the club's hierarchy

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The Independent Football

Brendan Rodgers' job at Anfield seems safe for the time being. Here's what he needs to do this summer to keep it that way...

End the Raheem Sterling saga

The latest on the unhappy winger is that Liverpool will use a legends game against Real Madrid on 14 June to discuss a possible move to Spain. The last thing Brendan Rodgers needs this summer is a protracted saga over whether Sterling is staying or going, so whether talks are productive or not, the club must decide what they want to do with him.

Sterling seemingly has no interest in staying at Anfield and he has lost the respect of the supporters, so why not sell him now whilst his value is at a high point?

It won't do Rodgers or the rest of the squad any favours to keep an unhappy player - however good he may turn out to be - at the club.

Find a place for Mario Balotelli

The £16m gamble for the Italian striker didn't pay off at all last season, he doesn't fit in with the fast pace that Rodgers wants to use. But after another poor season, it's unlikely that the Reds will even get back half of what they paid for the 24-year-old less than a year ago.

Out of the Champions League this year, Liverpool can't afford to take such a big loss on a player. Rodgers must find a way to bring the striker back into his plans - he clearly has natural talent and can score goals, even if he doesn't want to work hard.

Get over the loss of Steven Gerrard

Gerrard should still be a Liverpool player next season. But he's not and the club need to move on as quickly as possible. Jordan Henderson already seems to be taking on the mantle of being the 'next Gerrard', Liverpool's inspirational captain from the centre of midfield.

But even in his final campaign, arguably the worst of his career, he was still the man his team-mates looked to first for that moment of inspiration or leadership. Another central midfielder will be needed alongside Henderson and the players and fans will have to learn to deal with the former England captain not being at Anfield.

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Jordan Henderson seems like the man to replace Steven Gerrard

Work better with the transfer committee

The Liverpool transfer committee has come in for a lot of (just) criticism for the business over the last couple of seasons, with only Emre Can and Adam Lallana considered anything like a success out of the £100m+ spent last year.

It's not an ideal way to work but Rodgers is stuck with it and must make the best of it. Identifying targets and moving for them early helped Chelsea immensely on their way to the title and the Reds should aim to conduct their business in the same manner.

Christian Benteke, Danny Ings and Nathaniel Clyne are top targets and Liverpool should get the deals done for them quickly so they can be integrated into the squad.

Do something with the forgotten prospects

Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Tiago Ilori, Sebastian Coates, Fabio Borini. Every one of these players, bar Aspas (27), is under 25, still on the books at Liverpool and yet to make any kind of impression on the first-team. Around £40m was spent to bring the five players to the club, with Coates, Borini and Aspas seemingly having no future at the club.

Alberto and Ilori were on loan last season but struggled to get into the Malaga and Bordeaux teams, not exactly the most inspiring of tales. However, both are still young and the club are apparently happy with them. They should be given every chance to succeed at the club, but perhaps it'd be better for both parties if they could acclimatise in England rather than continued loan spells abroad.

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Luis Alberto and Tiago Ilori should be brought back into the first-team

Fix the defensive issues

In the last two seasons Liverpool's defensive issues have been plain for all to see. They may have kept 14 clean sheets overall, trailing only Chelsea, but the quality of their defensive play is not up to scratch, especially in the biggest matches.

Dejan Lovren has been a massive failure, and the hope is he can improve in his second season. But elsewhere the whole team needs to defend better as a unit. During his reign Rodgers has seen Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger leave for one reason or another, and replaced them all with sub-par players, Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure and Lovren.

The likes of Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo are exciting attacking full-backs, but liabilities defensively. Andre Wisdom impressed at West Brom and should be brought back into the squad. Lucas Leiva, an excellent defensive shield, was out of the team for a long spell last season before coming back - marking Liverpool's best run of form.

Whether he does it through the transfer market or by a shift in strategy, Rodgers must make the whole team better and more interested in defending.

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Dejan Lovren has had a very difficult first season at Anfield

Target a trophy

They may have got close last season, with two semi-finals, but Rodgers has now failed to reach a final in each of his first three seasons at the club. Rodgers gave up on the Champions League when he sent out a weakened team at the Bernabeu and then failed to get past Besiktas in the Europa League.

Liverpool have no chance of winning the Premier League next season and are facing a struggle to get back into the Champions League, with their rivals are expected to spend big this summer.

That makes some other success - the FA Cup or a League Cup - a big priority. A 5th or 6th place finish without a trophy wouldn't be seen as enough progress but some silverware is desperately needed.

His reign may not last without it.

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