Liverpool face an early progress test when their second season under Brendan Rodgers kicks off against Stoke on Saturday.
The Merseyside club finished a disappointing seventh last term, but lost just three games in the second half of their Premier League campaign and will hope to extend that form into 2013-14.
Stoke have failed to register a single Premier League goal in five visits to Anfield, but have taken points on three occasions courtesy of 0-0 draws - including in both of the last two seasons.
The challenge they pose to Rodgers' men this time around will be vastly different, however, following the dismissal of former boss Tony Pulis and arrival of Mark Hughes in his stead.
The Welshman has allowed several stalwarts of the Pulis era to leave, with Rory Delap, Matthew Upson and Dean Whitehead all released upon the expiry of their contracts.
And he has put his own stamp on the squad with the acquisitions of Marc Muniesa and Erik Pieters.
Liverpool are also likely to field an unfamiliar line-up, having brought in Simon Mignolet, Iago Aspas, Kolo Toure and Luis Alberto during the transfer window, while Jamie Carragher's absence is sure to be keenly felt following his retirement.
The hosts will be without Luis Suarez as the striker serves the remainder of his 10-match ban for biting, and have doubts over the fitness of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel ahead of the game, although Rodgers expects the central-defensive duo to be available.
However, Daniel Sturridge is likely to command a starting berth having proven his fitness with a brief friendly appearance against Celtic and a behind-closed-doors outing against Newcastle earlier this week.
And Rodgers has no doubts that the forward can deliver following the ankle injury he sustained while on international duty with England in May.
"He's worked tirelessly with the medical group. As a team, they've got him back. He's not 100 per cent fit yet, but for me Daniel Sturridge is a player that even if he's 70 or 80 per cent fit, he'll be right up there as one of the top strikers," the manager said.
By contrast, Stoke have just one injury worry ahead of their opening fixture, with Brek Shea sidelined by a leg injury.
|Coach: B. Rodgers|
|Wenger criticism baffles Redknapp|
|Leicester must strengthen in window - Walsh|
|United not title contenders - Docherty|
|Koeman: Southampton youngsters will get a chance|
|Dyche empathises with Liverpool striker crisis|
|Cagliari turn to Zola|
|Rooney thanks Van Gaal for Christmas break|
|Cruzeiro offer Paulinho Tottenham exit chance|
|Carlisle´s wife grateful to Burnley|
|Katebe called up to Zambia AFCON squad|
|Cape Verde name AFCON squad|
|Finke names much-changed Cameroon squad|
|Grant omits World Cup troublemakers for AFCON|
|Blackpool striker Ranger goes AWOL|
|Allardyce relishing Mourinho meeting|
|Ashley fails to increase Rangers stake|
|Crystal Palace v Southampton: Koeman calls for focus|
|Warnock targeting striker in January|
|Chelsea v West Ham: Adrian vows visitors will attack|
|Heskey signs short-term deal at Bolton|
|Everton v Stoke City: Martinez eyes strong form|
|Juninho defends David Luiz|
|Burnley v Liverpool: Dyche defends Rodgers ahead of Turf Moor test|
|Arsenal v QPR: Wenger eyes festive momentum|
|Liverpool are growing in confidence, says Rodgers|
|Redknapp: Austin future could depend on survival|
|Martinez wants Everton consistency|
|Barca want Neymar until 2020, says agent|
|Jones undeterred by pressure of Liverpool starting role|
|Allardyce ´knows how to beat managers´ - Carroll|
|Jones playing for a new contract|
|China select Evergrande spine for Asian Cup|
|A-League Preview: Koren tips City to build|
|Khedira keen to fight for Real spot|
|Southampton confirm Elia deal|
|Cellino to remain as Leeds owner until after appeal|
|Manchester United v Newcastle United: Van Gaal demands domination|
|Van Gaal refuses to dismiss Bale speculation|
|Sunderland v Hull City: Bruce sure of Hull revival|
|Swansea City v Aston Villa: Lambert optimistic of away success|
|Agbonlahor red rescinded|
|Falcao depends on team-mates to perform - Van Gaal|
|Monk dismisses talk of Gomis move|
|West Brom v Manchester City: Pellegrini to experiment again|
|Xavi: I was ready for New York switch|
|Ibrahimovic fumes at awards snub|
|Irvine: No approaches for Berahino|
|Pearson determined to revive Leicester fortunes|
|League Two Preview: First host third as Wycombe meet Luton|
|League One Preview: Buoyant MK Dons eye more glory, Bristol City seek response|
|Championship Preview: Pritchard plotting to end Ipswich run, Bournemouth host Fulham|
|Kaboul place not guaranteed by captaincy - Pochettino|
|Koeman hopeful of Elia deal|
|Atletico president not ruling out Torres return|
|Swansea secure Oliveira signing|
|No excuses for Pellegrini|
|Walcott pace unaffected by injury|
|Former Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos backs Ronaldo for Ballon d´Or|
|Former PFA chairman Carlisle ´stable´ after serious incident|
|Balotelli remorse saved him from longer ban|
|Bayern midfielder Martinez ´on track´ with rehab|
|Pardew ´overjoyed´ at Gutierrez return|
|Spurs confirm Yedlin to join in January|
|Zeman sacked by Cagliari|
|Casillas: I´m going nowhere|
|Bruce demands McShane apology|
|Pulis would welcome Brighton talks|
|Buffon: Juve angry after Supercoppa loss|
|Arteta out until new year|
|Rangnick: Kampl deserves Dortmund switch|
|PFA offers support to Carlisle after serious incident|
|Napoli can mount title bid - Higuain|
|Cech´s agent urges Liverpool and Arsenal to make bid|
|Hart happy to be back to his best|
|Terry thrilled with ´revelation´ Matic|
|Perez rues ´unfair´ Tyne-Wear derby result|
|Khalfan Ibrahim returns from injury|
|Magath slams ´sensitive´ Fulham|
|´Limited´ attacking options inspire Postecoglou´s selections|
|Carlisle reportedly involved in serious incident|
|Primeira Liga Review: Braga leapfrog Guimaraes|
|Hughes upbeat despite Stoke defeat|