Michael Owen believes a combination of new recruits and star performers maintaining the high level of last season could be the platform for Liverpool to challenge in the Barclays Premier League again.

Brendan Rodgers has so far added three new players to his squad during the summer - striker Rickie Lambert and playmaker Adam Lallana from Southampton, plus German midfielder Emre Can.

The trio supplement a group that will soon welcome back the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge following their World Cup exploits with England.

Owen pointed to that quartet as examples of the kind of stellar displays that launched the Reds into contention for the championship with eventual winners Manchester City and Chelsea in 2013-14.

With fewer than five weeks to wait until the new campaign kicks off with a home encounter against the Saints, the former Liverpool striker encouraged a continuation in attitude and application.

"If Liverpool are going to progress again, they probably need to get better again," the 34-year-old told Liverpoolfc.com. "Manchester City won the league, Chelsea have strengthened in a big way.

"From second to first is a big leap so Liverpool are going to need to be better again and the top-line performers are going to need to play as well, if not better. One or two signings and it could be a good season for Liverpool.

"Steven had a fantastic season last season and if he can play anywhere near what he played last year, he's going to give a lot of people a lot of pleasure for another season. Hopefully he can go on.

"He has obviously redefined his game a little bit, which everyone has to do at some point in their career. He was brilliant last year; I remember him having some outstanding games throughout the season.

"Raheem Sterling had a good season last year. He's young and hopefully he can go on, that confidence can snowball and he can become a top player for years to come.

"He had a sensational season last year, helped by the players around him - Sturridge, [Luis] Suarez, Gerrard, Henderson all had fantastic seasons."

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In his new role as a television co-commentator, Owen watched most Premier League sides very closely last season, and not least Southampton, including Lallana and Lambert in the ranks.

"They were fantastic last year for Southampton and are proven in the Premier League, said the ex-Red, who scored 158 goals for the club in 297 appearances.

"You would think Lambert will get his fair share of games now, because Liverpool are in the Champions League - there are going to be four competitions to be playing in and lots of games.

"It's a brilliant story and I can only imagine what it would have felt like for, say, Robbie Fowler to return to his boyhood club. I obviously wanted that throughout my career.

"So it must be double the excitement having never done it before, wondering 'what if?', to actually go and play for your boyhood club at such an age.

"You've just got to love it, you've got to smile when you see the smile on his face. Playing for a team like Liverpool, that he's supported all of his life, it's a great story. I hope Rickie has a good season.

"Lallana could be a star. He has done fantastically well, has great feet and lovely balance. I'm really looking forward to seeing him in the Liverpool shirt. They are two good buys."