Liverpool is certainly a club in transition after selling Luis Suarez to Barcelona in the summer.
Fortunately for them, they were able to reinvest with the likes of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Dejan Lovren. Apart from Suarez, manager Brendan Rodgers returns the rest of last year’s squad that finished second to Manchester City in the Premier League after holding the top spot with just two weeks remaining in the season.
It came as a surprise to many that Liverpool competed so well, but with Suarez and Daniel Sturridge finishing first and second in goals scored in the Premier League with 31 and 21, respectively, they produced a loaded attack with just enough solid play from first-year keeper Simon Mignolet.
So with all of the successes from last season, it should not surprise anyone if Liverpool are able to at least replicate last seasons’ finish. Here are FIVE reasons why the Reds will win the Premier League title next season.
Rodgers was tremendous in his second season at the helm of Liverpool from the start, winning manager of the month in August. That success continued as the season went on, including a 16-game stretch that saw the club win 11 straight matches and catapult up to the top of the Premier League table.
The players gravitated to Rodgers’ possession style of play on offense while applying constant defensive pressure. Rodgers proved he is willing and able to make deft tactical changes mid-match, and that will again be important this campaign.
Brought over from Sunderland after three years with the Black Cats, Mignolet made an immediate impact with Liverpool. He recorded a clean sheet in each of his first three Premier League matches, including a 1-0 victory over Manchester City.
The Belgian international whom Rodgers hailed as “one of the top keepers in the Premier League” played every minute in the Premier League last season. Another year under his belt at Anfield should do him well, and the club can expect to get better keeping from him this time around.
He could be a big reason why the club improves this season; they’ll certainly need it from him with the departure of the aforementioned Suarez.
Now that Suarez has left town, Rodgers needs someone to step up and become the top goal-scorer that the Uruguayan was. Why look any further than the man who finished second in goals last season?
The 24-year-old looks poised to become the top striker in the Premier League this season, and his performance last season backs that up. He earned Player of the Month on two separate occasions, and became just the second player in Premier League history to score in eight straight matches.
It remains to be seen whether or not his success was due to the presence of Suarez, but he appears to have the talent to lead this corps of attackers that will have more depth than last season.
With Sturridge hopefully taking over Suarez’ role as the lead banana, someone will need to take Sturridge’s spot as the #2 attacking option. Sterling could be that man, as he is coming off an impressive performance last season in which he scored nine goals in 30 appearances in the Premier League.
It may be unfair to place this large of expectations on the 19-year-old’s shoulders, but his success speaks for himself. He performed well at the World Cup this summer, and appears to have great chemistry with Sturridge.
He appeared to really find his form when Rodgers placed him at the ’10’ last season, but is able to play on either wing, as well. That versatility will be important with so many interchanging parts on the attack next season.
All the new transfers
With five new players coming to Anfield this upcoming season, all of whom will be expected to be on the first squad, chemistry will be important from the onset. As previously mentioned, there may not be a better players manager in the game than Rodgers, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
Lambert, Lallana and Markovic are all capable goal scorers with impressive track records from their previous, and the first two arrive together from Southampton. Can, who has drawn comparisons to fellow German Michael Ballack in the past, is an impressive young central midfielder that should help spell Gerrard and Jordan Henderson. Lovren, another player coming over from Southampton, will provide depth on the back line and could find his way moving into the starting lineup quickly despite joining the club less than two weeks ago.
While it is unlikely (although not impossible) all five will immediately gel with their new teammates, significant contributions, especially from the three attackers, can be expected. It was an impressive haul for Rodgers, and one that should be able to offset the loss of Suarez this season and in the future.