Liverpool were inches close to lifting their 19th League title last year but fell short by just 2 points. A better defense would have surely won them the league title as there was no shortage of goals last season.
This season however, there is no Luis Suarez. Replacing 31 goals and 12 assists is close to impossible, so Brendan Rodgers has to shore up the defense and sign players who can contribute in the absence of Suarez.
Ins: Emre Can, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Lazar Marković, Dejan Lovren, Divock Origi, Javier Manquillo (loan), Alberto Moreno*
Outs: Armin Hodzic, Jakub Sokolík, Luis Suarez, Divock Origi (loan), Iago Aspas (loan), Andre Wisdom (loan), Luis Alberto (loan), Conor Coady, Pepe Reina, Martin Kelly*
Liverpool’s squad was pretty small compared to the other top 5 teams last year, and with Champions League coming up, the need to strengthen was imperative. So, please don’t compare their transfer activity to that of Spurs as the core of the team remains the same.
Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Dejan Lovren were signed to provide quality depth to the squad. Rickie Lambert’s return to Anfield is story that is nothing short of a dream come true as the 32-year old striker was released by the club when he was a teenager! Alberto Moreno will be a Liverpool player pretty soon as an agreement was reached with Sevilla for the talented left back. Brendan Rodgers will want to sign one more striker before the window closes as Divock Origi was loaned back after being signed from Lille for £10m.
Goalkeepers: Simon Mignolet, Brad Jones
Defenders: Glen Johnson, Jose Enrique, Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Dejan Lovren, Sebastian Coates, Mamadou Sakho, Tiago Ilori, Martin Kelly, Jon Flanagan, Brad Smith, Jack Robinson
Midfielders: Steven Gerrard (Captain), Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen, Emre Can, Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe, Suso, Adam Lallana, Oussama Assaidi, Lazar Markovic, , Joao Carlos Teixeira
Forwards: Daniel Sturridge, Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini
TACTICS AND PROBABLE LINE UP
Brendan Rodgers is very astute manager when it comes to tactics, and it showed last season when he tried three different formations. With the players that they possess, 4-3-3 seems to be the best foot forward for Liverpool at the moment. Simon Mignolet is the 1st choice goalkeeper and will remain there as the sale of Pepe Reina reduced the competition. In defense, Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel are expected to start ahead of Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Agger. Lovren’s arrival will shore up the defense as the Croat has the necessary leadership skills that the Liverpool backline have been missing ever since Jamie Carragher’s retirement. Moreno’s signing will make him the 1st choice at left back and fellow Spaniard Javier Manquillo might just make it to the team sheet ahead of Glen Johnson who hasn’t had the best of times in the last 8 months or so.
In midfield, the trio of Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson will provide the necessary shape to the midfield. Gerrard’s main responsibility will be to cover the defense and start counter attacking moves with his brilliant passing ability. Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson will support the skipper and press from the halfway line. Henderson’s role is key as he’ll join the attack and help out in defending. Often referred to as the “engine” of the team, Henderson works tirelessly and was missed in the last few games of the previous season. Emre Can’s arrival will add depth as he is a very versatile player and can play in any of the three positions in that midfield.
Luis Suarez’s departure will make Daniel Sturridge as the main man upfront for Liverpool. The 24 year old was the second highest goalscorer in the Premier League last season and with the support of Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, there is no reason why he cannot reach the 20 goal mark again. Coutinho and Sterling will play a big part as they’ll have to contribute more goals this time around. Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana will be key cogs of the squad too as the Merseyside club play in 4 competitions this season. The addition of Rickie Lambert adds a plan B to the play as the striker is tall, strong and has good technique too. Philippe Coutinho can drift from the left side to take up a playmaker’s role behind Sturridge and Sterling to provide the creativity against rigid teams.
WHAT CAN THEY ACHIEVE
Brendan Rodgers revealed that he wants to win a trophy this season, and if they keep playing the way they are right now, then it won’t be too long before they win one. However, that being said, this will be Rodgers’ first taste of managing in a tournament as big as the Champions League, which will be a telling factor. The squad rotation will be really important this season as games will flow thick and fast compared to last season.
Liverpool have strengthened for that in all departments except the striker’s position. A marquee player in that position, just in case Sturridge gets injured, will setup Liverpool nicely for the upcoming season.
League Cup: Last 32
FA Cup: Semi finals
League: Top 4
UEFA Champions League: Last 16