Manager: Kenny Dalglish.
2010-11 season: A genuine season of two halves. Under the regime of Roy Hodgson and the hated Gillett-Hicks axis, Liverpool were listless, ravaged by supporter mutiny and ingloriously engaged in a relegation battle. However, the return of Kenny Dalglish as manager in January - an appointment overseen by Liverpool's new American owners - immediately lifted spirits and he united supporters while instigating a more stylish and effective approach, resulting in a sixth-place finish.
Strengths: Dalglish himself is a strong plus for Liverpool, as his aura has played a major role in the club's recent renaissance. They also have a stronger squad than they did last season, particularly given their myriad options in midfield which are likely to prevent £20 million man Jordan Henderson from starting, and arguably more quality, particularly in the form of Luis Suarez.
Weaknesses: This partially depends on the club's targets. If they are eyeing a title challenge then recent expensive recruits such as Henderson and Stewart Downing may not be quite up to standard. The left-back position remains a big concern, though Jose Enrique is expected to arrive, and Dalglish may struggle to keep his ranks of players happy.
Key man: Luis Suarez. The ghost of Fernando Torres was exorcised almost immediately after his departure in January as Suarez quickly endeared himself to the Liverpool support. With four goals and three assists in 13 Premier League games the slippery forward showed a glimpse of what he can achieve at Anfield, whether playing off Carroll or in a wide position.
Ins: Stewart Downing (Aston Villa, undisclosed); Jordan Henderson (Sunderland, £20 million); Charlie Adam (Blackpool, £8 million); Alexander Doni (Roma, undisclosed).
Outs: Jason Banton (released); Tom Ince (released); Peter Gulacsi (Hull, loan); Martin Hansen (Bradford, loan); Stephen Darby (Rochdale, loan); Deale Chamberlain (released); Douglas Cooper (released); Sean Highdale (released); Steven Irwin (released); Nikola Saric (released); Paul Konchesky (Leicester City, undisclosed); Milan Jovanovic (Anderlecht, undisclosed); Chris Mavinga (Rennes, undisclosed); Gerardo Bruna (Blackpool, undisclosed).
Manager: Harry Redknapp.
2010-11 season: A first Champions League campaign saw Tottenham reach the quarter-finals before being halted by Real Madrid, but that did not spare Redknapp from criticism from demanding supporters as a run of one win in 10 games saw the club surrender their claims for a top-four finish in desperately disappointing fashion. Fifth, and Europa League football, was scant consolation, but at least Gareth Bale was named PFA Player of the Year.
Strengths: If Luka Modric remains, then Spurs have a very strong proposition in midfield, even despite an injury suffered by Sandro. Bale and Rafael van der Vaart would grace most teams while the return of Kyle Walker from a loan spell at Aston Villa lends a more dynamic dimension to the defence. Brad Friedel is also a signing that inspires confidence.
Weaknesses: Goals. Only Roman Pavlyuchenko broke double figures in the Spurs attack last season and the league form of Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe was real cause for concern. The loss of Modric would also set Spurs back a year or two.
Key man: Gareth Bale. Though many observers felt his Player of the Year award was a touch undeserved, there is little doubt about the Welsh winger's value to Spurs. His direct dribbling and mastery of the art of crossing make him a potent threat from the left and last season he left a string of right-backs cowering, most notably Inter's Maicon.
Ins: Brad Friedel (Aston Villa, free); Souleymane Coulibaly (Siena, undisclosed); Cristian Ceballos (Unattached, free).
Outs: Jonathan Woodgate (released); Jamie O'Hara (Wolves, £5m); Steven Caulker (Swansea, loan); Bongani Khumalo (Reading, loan); Paul-Jose Mpoku (Standard Liege, undisclosed); Nathan Byrne (Bournemouth, loan); Ryan Mason (Doncaster Rovers, loan); Jonathan Obika (Yeovil, loan); Kyle Naughton (Norwich, loan).
Manager: Steve Bruce.
2010-11 season: After 25 games of the campaign, Sunderland were sitting happily in sixth place with aspirations of a European spot. However, a run of eight defeats in nine games - which some attributed to the loss of Darren Bent to Aston Villa in January - lowered their ambitions considerably and made relegation a brief possibility. Sunderland rallied to finish an acceptable tenth, but were left with psychological scars after a 5-1 defeat to Newcastle on Tyneside.
Strengths: Sunderland have bought superbly well over the summer, with the additions of Sebastian Larsson, Craig Gardner, John O'Shea and Wes Brown bringing guaranteed Premier League quality. They also outmanoeuvred Liverpool to sign Ipswich wonderkid Connor Wickham, giving Bruce's squad an increasingly accomplished look on paper.
Weaknesses: Though Bruce has addressed this issue in the transfer market, last season Sunderland struggled for consistency in attack and the return of Danny Welbeck to Manchester United will be sorely felt. Jordan Henderson's departure is also a blow for a side that scored the fourth least goals in the league last season, while Craig Gordon and Simon Mignolet remain at odds over the No. 1 shirt.
Key man: John O'Shea. If Sunderland are to eradicate the inconsistency that afflicts them then the experience of O'Shea will be crucial. He is expected to take the captain's armband from Lee Cattermole and will be tasked with infusing the squad with the winning mentality that serves former club Manchester United so well.
Ins: Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham, free); Kieren Westwood (Coventry, free); Connor Wickham (Ipswich, £8 million); Craig Gardner (Birmingham, £5m); Ji Dong-won (Chunnam Dragons, undisclosed); Wes Brown (Manchester United, undisclosed); John O'Shea (Manchester United, undisclosed); David Vaughan (Blackpool, free); Ahmed Elmohamady (ENPPI, undisclosed); Roarie Deacon (Arsenal, free).
Outs: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool, £20m); Steed Malbranque (St Etienne, undisclosed); Cristian Riveros (Kayserispor, loan); Bolo Zenden (released); Michael Kay (released); Nathan Luscombe (released); Daniel Madden (released); Robert Weir (released); Nathan Wilson (released); Mvoto Jean-Yves (released); Liam Noble (Carlisle, loan).
Manager: David Moyes.
2010-11 season: Everton endured a painfully slow start to the season - something of a tradition at Goodison - and collected only three wins from their opening 17 matches. With no injury crisis to fall back on as an excuse, Moyes was put under real scrutiny by supporters and responded by orchestrating a much improved second half of the season that culminated with a seventh-place finish. However, chronic financial problems continued to undermine his and the club's efforts.
Strengths: Familiarity has bred stability and Moyes is one of the most highly-regarded managers in the Premier League having spent nine years at Goodison. He has overseen the construction of a squad that has plenty of quality, particularly in the shape of Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines. It appears all three will be staying on Merseyside, which is of real importance to the Toffees.
Weaknesses: These primarily lie in attack, as Louis Saha's fitness problems mean he cannot be relied upon for a whole season and Jermaine Beckford is yet to demonstrate that he is the answer. Everton are also hampered by their continuing struggle to attract new investment, meaning Moyes has to work on a restrictive budget.
Key man: Tim Cahill. Mikel Arteta is a more of an influence in terms of the flow and tempo of Everton's play, but no one matches Cahill for pure impact. A regular source of goals, the Australian often fills in in attack when required and is an important figure in the dressing room too.
Ins: Eric Dier (Sporting, loan).
Outs: James Vaughan (Norwich, undisclosed); Kieran Agard (released); Hope Akpan (released); Luke Dobie (released); Iain Turner (released); Nathan Craig (released); Gerard Kinsella (released); Lee McArdle (released); John Nolan (Stockport County, free).