Can Brendan Rodgers pull off another magic trick this season with Liverpool?

Liverpool: Season Preview

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It was just a last season. Everyone at Anfield were just thrilled when they saw Luis Suarez tearing up the defense and scoring goals in bunches. The last season was one of the most successful seasons that Liverpool has produced in recent memory. They would come close to clinching the league title, but placed in second as Manchester City stole the title on account of an end of season slip.

Liverpool really has to credit Suarez for bringing the team up. Because of him, they started from the bottom (of the “big boy” battle) now they are here (incoming Drake reference). He himself scored 31 goals last season, proving to EPL defenders that he is unstoppable.

Daniel Sturridge will have the added weight of being the main threat for Liverpool this season now that Luis Suarez was departed the club

Daniel Sturridge will have the added weight of being the main threat for Liverpool this season now that Luis Suarez was departed the club

His will to win has encouraged many players such as Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling to step their level of play up. The three of them went on to score roughly half the clubs goals, signifying their importance in the team.

But now, the new season is coming up, and Suarez is no longer with Liverpool. Feeling his absence in the team, Brendan Rogers, has been looking for ways to fill in the void. In order to fill in Suarez’s seat, Rogers brought in four players; Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, and Lazar Markovic.

It’s nice to see that Rogers expanded to increase the depth within the team, but the question is can they successfully fill Suarez’s void? I seriously don’t know what  to say about his decision but I hope it goes well.

Transfers In (six, totaling 89 million pounds):

Adam Lallana (in white) brings bags of creativity to the Liverpool first-team; once fit, he will be looking to make his mark

Adam Lallana (in white) brings bags of creativity to the Liverpool first-team; once fit, he will be looking to make his mark

Rickie Lambert; ST (4 million pounds from Southampton) - To be honest, I don’t feel too comfortable about signing Rickie Lambert. I will not speak against how wonderful he was for Southampton during his time at the club; after all, 13 goals in 37 games for a team that lacks real star quality cannot be frowned upon.  But in all honesty, Southampton are not Liverpool.  Liverpool, on the other hand, is on the top 5 in the Premier League. Doing well for a club who’s expectations are far below that of one of the most storied clubs in footballing history is like night and day.  While he is not a bad player, can he really be expected to do enough to warrant his purchase?

Adam Lallana; AM (25 million pounds from Southampton) - When everyone has no clue on some players that Liverpool recruited, they at least know who Adam Lallana is. He is one of the most creative and the most intelligent players last campaign, and the best in the business out of all Englishmen. He is quick with the ball and quick with changing directions. He may struggle with speed at times, but his creativity in setting up plays will contribute a lot for the team. Don’t expect him to be a stand out during the game because Lallana is not a player who possesses a tremendous talent like Suarez.

Emre Can; DM (10 million pounds from Bayer Leverkusen) - Can is very athletic and doesn’t lose the fluidity of his speed when he has to change directions. As a defensive midfield, he is a very strong player and takes on the challenge without being reckless. He can handle the ball in the air and defend well against set pieces. What’s fun for Can is that he has a tendency to ball rush and other players get terrified because of his size and athleticism that he boasts as he plays (like Cha Doori in South Korea’s national team). But he needs to chill out because he tends to get hot-headed during the game. He needs to take more cautions when he commits unnecessary fouls and pushes others too hard because that will risk him and the team a lot.

Lazar Markovic; AM (20 million pounds from Benfica) - It’s funny. He’s 20 and I ask myself what I have done for my whole life when he got recruited to Liverpool from Benfica (just saying this because he is same age as me). As just 20 year old dude, he is versatile in many different positions. He’s right footed and he can be a supporting striker or as a forward. Comparing to Lambert and Lallana, Markovic boasts his quick pace and his speedy counterattacks. He doesn’t lose his focus and he avoids any activities that would hurt his career and the team. Rogers will expect Markovic to carry out roles in pressing higher up the pitch and being tactically intelligent to take on instructions during games. 

Dejan Lovren; CB (20 million pounds from Southampton) - Lovren is the third player from Southampton who will be signed by Liverpool for this season. How much more Southampton guys does Liverpool need now? This Croatian showed that he has a powerful presence in the team and has leadership skills as he played for both Southampton during the past season and Croatia for this World Cup. In his career in Southampton, he averaged 2.0 tackles, 2.7 interceptions and 7.7 clearances per match. Lovren will definitely be expected to upgrade the quality of Liverpool’s defense as Liverpool’s defense hasn’t always been that great as they conceded 50 goals for this past season.

Divock Origi; FW ( 10 million pounds from Lille) - Origi is the sixth player that Rogers has signed for this season. He is only 19 but already made a huge hit as he played for Belgium for this World Cup. Origi has shown that he’s more capable in scoring goals than Romelu Lukaku anytime given at the World Cup. For this past season, Origi has scored 6 goals as he played in 35 games. Although he is loaned back to his own club team for next season, Origi will be expected to contribute more to Liverpool as he matures more.

 

Transfers Out (five, totaling 77.5 millions pounds):

Top scorer and talisman Luis Suarez no longer wears the famous all red strip of Liverpool - how much will he be missed?

Top scorer and talisman Luis Suarez no longer wears the famous all red strip of Liverpool – how much will he be missed?

Luis Suarez; CF (75 million pounds to F.C. Barcelona) - Liverpool will dearly miss their best player, Luis Suarez, leaving for F.C. Barcelona. He caused a few hassles within the team because of his unpredictable behavior. But many have praised him for bringing back the glory to Liverpool. He himself scored 31 goals for this past season for the team. His will to win fueled up everyone in the team to play much better. Although Suarez is facing problems with FIFA because of a biting incident in the World Cup, Suarez will be a great asset to Barcelona.

Pepe Reina; GK (2 million pounds to Bayern Munich) - Reina’s career in Liverpool has been quite finished. After being loaned to Napoli for the past season, he is now loaned to Bayern Munich. Reina enjoyed a solid season in Napoli for this past season but Liverpool doesn’t want him back as they want Simon Mignolet to fill in as a starter. Liverpool wants to move forward with Mignolet as he’s a young goalie. Not wanting to destroy Mignolet’s confidence, Liverpool decided to have Reina loan to other team as Reina himself is still a great goalie.

Conor Coady; CM (500,000 pounds to Huddersfield Town) - Coady really didn’t have an opportunity to shine in Liverpool. He only made two senior appearances for Liverpool during his stay. However, Coady has plenty of time to mature as he’s only 21. By transferring to Huddersfield Town, Coady will be given more chances to play and mature as a better player for England.

Free Transfers – Armin Hodzic (GNK Dinamo Zagreb), Jakub Sokolik (Yeovil Town)

 

Predicting Starting XI (4-2-3-1)

GK: Simon Mignolet

DF: Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno

MF: Steven Gerard, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling

FW: Daniel Sturridge

 

Team Strengths

Raheem Sterling is just one of a host of talented midfielders on offer at Anfield this season

Raheem Sterling is just one of a host of talented midfielders on offer at Anfield this season

  • Stacked midfield- Liverpool perhaps boasts some of the best midfielders in the world. Liverpool has Steven Gerard who is a veteran of both England’s national team and Liverpool. Gerard has shown an excellent leadership as he successfully transformed himself as a play-maker for Liverpool. Plus, Liverpool has Raheem Sterling. Even though he is only 19, Sterling showed that he is fearless and willing to challenge himself more as he played for England’s national team for this past World Cup. As Wayne Rooney struggled in this World Cup, Sterling stepped up and posed himself as a threat to Italy and Uruguay’s defenses. Sterling will be expected to create chances for Daniel Sturridge as he helped out Luis Suarez to score during this past season. Inclusion of Lazar Markovic in the line will also help boost up the attack for Liverpool. Markovic has killer passes and has the speed to counter attack. These midfielders will definitely threaten opposing teams numerous times.
  • Depth- What Liverpool lacked in previous season was depth. As Luis Suarez transferred to Barcelona, Rodgers used this as an opportunity to sign players so he can increase the depth among the team. Although I didn’t mention names of other players in this article, players such as Joe Allen, Sebastian Coates and Kolo Toure will contribute as extra players. Plus, these players are talented enough to fill in their starting lineup. 

Team Weaknesses

With Glen Johnson increasingly becoming a liability, can Javier Manquillo (on loan from Atletico Madrid) steal the starting birth from the England international?

With Glen Johnson increasingly becoming a liability, can Javier Manquillo (on loan from Atletico Madrid) steal the starting birth from the England international?

  • Luis Suarez’s Void- As how great and awesome beloved Luis Suarez was to Liverpool, he has created a huge void for the team. As a man who scored 31 goals for the team and who brought the team to Top 5 will no longer be playing for Liverpool. In order to fill in his void, Rodgers signed Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert. But don’t get me wrong. Both Lambert and Lallana are good players as they showed great performances for this past season in Southampton. But did I mention that Southampton was from the Championship League? You just can’t expect players who shined light in the second division to do the same in the first division. Yes, Lambert showed a stellar performance in Southampton but EPL is different for him. Losing Suarez to Barcelona will give signs to other teams that Liverpool’s offense will no longer be that powerful anymore.
  • Right Defense- Although Liverpool played well in this past season, their defense had some problems as they conceded 50 goals for this past season. And right defender Glen Johnson was responsible for some of goals they conceded during the past season. For example, Glen Johnson’s poor performance was responsible for three goals loss against Crystal Palace which they really shouldn’t have conceded against. Although inclusion of Lovren in the defense will improve the defense more but Johnson’ s problem must be fixed or Liverpool will face even worse possible scenarios in future.

 

Predicted Finish This Season: 5th

Rodgers' revolution could well come to a screeching halt this season despite expectations to the contrary

Rodgers’ revolution could well come to a screeching halt this season despite expectations to the contrary

What I believe is that Liverpool will definitely make in Top 5. I personally guarantee that Liverpool will not have a problem making into Top 5. However, I don’t believe that they will be the same as last season. Suarez’s void is too big too handle for Liverpool right now. I do expect that the Liverpool’s midfield line will contribute even more for this season but lack of one top will kill the team. Although Sturridge has shown a consistency in scoring, he needs a reliable striker who can help him out. Clearly Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert are not bad choices but they lack the impact that Suarez left in the team. They will have no problems against teams such as West Brom and Stoke City but Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Old Trafford? Tough choice Liverpool. Maybe this season will be a rebuilding time.

 

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Tags: Brendan Rodgers Liverpool Premier League Preview And Predictions Soccer

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