With 18 domestic titles and five European championships in Liverpool’s rich history, it is somewhat humbling for Reds fans to be excited about the prospect of earning a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League. The club has not participated in the tournament since being eliminated from the group stage in 2009-2010, and since then has faced a difficult transition that included a change in ownership, three changes at the manager position and a laundry list of roster moves.
That transition appears to be complete, as Liverpool sits in fourth place in the Premier League table and has an opportunity to advance on current leader Arsenal this weekend. Although the club’s increased financial stability and growing parity throughout the Premier League have played a hand in Liverpool’s rise, there have been three major factors that have driven the club’s ascension and potential return to CL qualification: the appointment of manager Brendan Rodgers and the quick-tempo, possession-oriented system he has integrated over the past two seasons, the increased efficiency of star striker Luis Suarez, and the positive impact of additions Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.
Here’s a deeper look at the keys to Liverpool’s rise, an area of weakness that could hinder its qualification case and whether the Reds ultimately will earn a Champion’s League berth.
Rodgers’ impact, formation...