LIVERPOOL fans do not need reminding that it is now 27 years since they were last Champions of England.
In that time, eight different managers have been tasked with ending that drought and more than £1 billion has been spent.
With the charismatic Jurgen Klopp at the helm, could this be the year when Liverpool are back on top of the pile?
Klopp achieved the first part of his remit at Anfield last season by achieving a top-four finish and access to the Champions League.
Now the Reds need to see off Hoffenheim over two legs in the play-off round to take their place among the giants of European football in the lucrative group stages. Finishing fourth in May was an improvement, but there was a slight feeling of disappointment.
The Reds were absolutely electric before Christmas and looked like they could go all the way. But a disastrous January saw them knocked out of both cups and fall off the pace in the league.
At their best, Klopp’s men were a match for anyone. They were unbeaten against the other teams in the top six.
But title winners don’t lose at Burnley, Bournemouth and Hull and at home to Swansea and Crystal Palace.
If Liverpool are serious about challenging, they cannot afford to throw away points like that.
Last season also tested the depth of the Reds’ squad. After Christmas, the loss of Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations and then injury, along with problems for captain Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana, saw Klopp having to fill the bench with youngsters.
That was without the burden of European football, too, which offers a new challenge for the forthcoming season.
At £37m, Mohamed Salah is the club’s new record signing from Roma and another excellent attacking option, while Scottish defender Andy Robertson provides good cover in the problematic left-back spot.
Simon Mignolet looks to have won Klopp’s trust as first-choice goalkeeper, but if Liverpool can land Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk, that would be a real coup.
The Dutchman would improve any side, but having been rebuffed by the Saints earlier in the summer, it will take an offer upwards of £60m to get him.
However, while Van Dijk is a probable arrival, Liverpool will find it hard to keep Philippe Coutinho out of Barcelona’s clutches.
The Catalan giants already had eyes on the Brazilian, who scored 13 goals and set up another seven, before Neymar’s world-record move to Paris St Germain was on the table.
Now with their coffers set to be full, expect Barca to go at full speed to get Coutinho, leaving Klopp with a big hole and an enormous headache, days before the season begins.
An impressive 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in pre-season was a reminder of their quality, but coping with the 38-game grind of a Premier League campaign is a huge ask.