Liverpool were the surprise package last season, mounting an unexpected title challenge against Chelsea and Manchester City all the way to the last day of the campaign. They came up just a bit short at second, and will look to go one step better this time around.
However with the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, a lot of the weight the Uruguayan carried on his shoulders will now be divided among the new Liverpool squad… can they raise their game to make the Anfield faithful forget about their departed talisman?
Here are FIVE Liverpool players that must prove themselves this season.
Although it might be unfair to label a striker that has scored 22 goals last season needing to prove himself, that is the case with Daniel Sturridge.
The media will have an eye on Sturridge to see if he has the ability to lead the line without Suarez, and if Liverpool fail to score on a consistent basis the blame could be put on the Englishman.
But if Sturridge even manages to come close to his 22 league goal haul last season, then critics will be eating their words while the former Chelsea man earns the tag of being one of the country’s best strikers.
Mignolet was purchased from Sunderland only a year ago to replace Pepe Reina, and had an amazing debut when he kept out a last minute penalty to win the game for the Reds.
However the Belgian stopper is prone to lapses of concentration, conceding some avoidable goals that could have been the difference between first and second.
Goalkeepers have been heavily linked with Liverpool this summer and if the 26-year-old wants to hold down his place as Liverpool’s number one, he has to prove to the manager and his fans he deserves to stand in between the Anfield posts.
Brendan Rodgers spent £15million for Sakho last summer, earmarking him as the season’s ‘marquee signing’ and many were expecting great things from the Frenchman.
However although he started brightly, injuries and poor form kept him out of the side for much of the campaign and Liverpool have suffered defensively because of it.
Sakho did go on to have a decent World Cup for France but now with Dejan Lovren added into the centre-back mix, the former Paris Saint-Germain ace must prove himself as the perfect partner to Lovren or Martin Skrtel.
Henderson arrived at Liverpool for a massive £20million in the summer of 2011, but only last year did we see the 24-year-old play to the level near his hefty price tag.
With Gerrard playing a much deeper role, Henderson has the engine and the ability to become Liverpool’s next goal-scoring midfielder… and with the exit of Luis Suarez there is no better time to do so.
Can Henderson prove himself as the natural heir to his captain? This could be a true break-out year for the Englishman, much like Ramsey at Arsenal last season.
Also purchased for £20million this summer, Markovic has already been praised by former Chelsea manager Avram Grant as a winger capable of playing at Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Lionel Messi’s level.
Being a relative unknown, the Serbian only needed one season with Benfica to impress the Liverpool hierarchy to pay £20 million for his services. The Reds management certainly see some talent in the 20-year old, and hopes he can be the club’s new X-factor after Luis Suarez’s departure.
And Markovic has the perfect platform to begin his Liverpool legacy, as Adam Lallana – his main competition for the left midfield starting berth – is out injured until the end of September.
Can Markovic prove himself to make Suarez a forgotten man at Anfield?