With the World Cup over and the transfer window in full swing, the 2014/15 Premier League campaign is nearly upon us. In fact it’s just 23 days away, which is probably just enough time to watch all the highlights from last season to remind you how amazing it was.
Luckily, next term could be equally as exciting, with Arsenal finally splashing the cash, Manchester City determined to produce a much better title defence than last time, Manchester United welcoming a new manager in Louis van Gaal and Chelsea seemingly only growing ever stronger under Jose Mourinho.
Around Liverpool too, there is a great sense of intrigue. Can the Reds match their runner-up finish from last season? Can they compensate for the loss of Luis Suarez to Barcelona?
Only time will tell, but to give you some idea of how the Anfield side’s season might pan out, we’ve taken a previewed look of their potential starting XI next season.
The Belgium international is an impressive all round ‘keeper; confident with his feet, comfortable in the air and a consistent shot stopper – this save against the Citizens being a classic example:
With Pepe Reina returning from loan to provide some much-needed competition for the No.1 jersey, the Reds will expect an even higher level of performance from the 26 year-old next season.
It remains to be seen whether contract rebel Glen Johnson will still be at Anfield come the end of the summer. The England international’s current deal is set to expire in 2015 and there are now rumours he could be on his way to QPR:
EXCLUSIVE: Harry Redknapp looking to lure Liverpool’s Glen Johnson to QPR http://t.co/NEgt8ijWYf
— Alan QPR Cox (@madmarble74) June 1, 2014
But as things currently stand, the 29 year-old remains Liverpool’s resident No.2 for next season. Furthermore, the former West Ham and Chelsea defender’s performances weren’t half as bad as they were made out to be last term, just take a look at his vitals from the 2013/14 campaign:
Johnson’s complete full-back style, offering in both defence and attack, is vital to the Reds’ progressive philosophy. This assist to Wayne Rooney at the World Cup wasn’t too bad either:
But Brendan Rodgers is already preparing for the worst. Not only does he have the highly-rated youngster Jon Flanagan waiting in the wings, but the Ulsterman has also wrapped up a loan deal for Atletico Madrid’s Javier Manquillo:
— Football Spy (@FootballSpy) July 23, 2014
Mamadou Sakho’s first campaign in England was by no means an easy ride. The France international looked a little out of his depth at times and his performance against Crystal Palace – a match which arguably cost Liverpool the title – was particularly poor.
But Brendan Rodgers invested £15million in the 24 year-old last summer and will be keen to give him the chance to impress, especially following a strong World Cup campaign with Les Tricolores where Sakho made four starts, earning two clean sheets.
Furthermore, despite widespread assumptions otherwise, the 6 foot 2 centre-back can actually be quite productive on the ball, just check out his passing stats from last season:
These kick-ups aren’t bad for a big and burley centre-half either:
It’s no secret that Dejan Lovren has become the object of transfer desires on Merseyside, with the Southampton defender handing in a transfer request some time ago.
The Croatia international joined the South Coast outfit from Lyon last summer and has since proved to be a major coup, with his 2.7 interceptions per match only bettered by three Premier League centre-backs…
Offering relative pace, comfort on the ball, an astute reading of the game and dominance in the air, the 24 year-old is an incredibly impressive, complete defender, as demonstrated in the video below:
Despite Liverpool’s well-documented interest however, Saints boss Ronald Koeman insists the club are yet to receive a refreshed bid for Lovren:
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman insists they have not received a new bid from Liverpool for defender Dejan Lovren. http://t.co/YJ2ESd1Hex
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) July 22, 2014
— Barclays League (@BarclaysLeague) July 17, 2014
The 22 year-old has enjoyed a sensational twelve months, muscling his way into the Spain senior fold, notching three goals in 29 La Liga outings and claiming the Europa League title with Los Palanganos. Here’s the vitals from his 2013/14 campaign:
And a quick look at the Roja international in action:
But with Sevilla seemingly holding out for an incredible offer, whilst Real Madrid and Chelsea have also been linked, it’s alleged Brendan Rodgers could switch his attentions to Blues left-back Ryan Bertrand:
Liverpool have revived their interest in £8m rated Chelsea full back Ryan Bertrand http://t.co/rx48MOfQzg
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) July 24, 2014
The first name on the team-sheet for the last 15 years, Liverpool’s Captain Fantastic may have reached the ripe old age of 34 but he’s as integral to the club’s successes as ever.
The now-retired England international was in unbelievable form last term to earn a spot in the PFA Team of the Year for the eighth time of his career, as detailed below:
Gerrard has found a new lease of life in a more refined holding role, freeing him from the physical requirements of his more traditional box-to-box style.
Also adding vital experience to an incredibly young and ambitious roster, although the Anfield icon will eventually have to pass the mantle to someone else, he will remain a key figure in the Reds starting XI for at least next season.
Here’s a look at his highlights from last term:
The Geordie work-horse proved himself a good partner for Steven Gerrard too, compensating for the Anfield legend’s declining pace and stamina. There were also moments of sensational individual quality – this assist to Daniel Sturridge being a classic example:
Most tellingly, barring a three-game absence due to suspension, the 24 year-old featured in every minute of Liverpool’s domestic campaign, finishing up with the third-most appearances:
Things are changing quickly on Merseyside but Henderson remains an ever-present, now intrinsic figure.
In the more important games, Brendan Rodgers may feel it necessary to consider more defensive options in the middle of the park.
But Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho was a vital influence on Merseyside last season, providing the quality to link the midfield with the attack.
He may lack output in comparison to other Premier League No.10’s, but the 22 year-old’s overall contribution to build-up play cannot be overstated, as detailed below:
Continued Premier League exposure can only further improve Coutinho’s game, but there are concerns that he could soon become overshadowed by Liverpool’s new signings Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, both of whom can adopt a similar role.
Brendan Rodgers wasted no time in launching a swoop for Southampton’s Adam Lallana this summer and clearly has high hopes for the England international’s future on Merseyside.
No doubt, the 26 year-old was in incredible form for the Saints last season, as detailed below:
This solo effort against Hull City was a particular highlight:
An elusive, fluid and versatile playmaker, Lallana is a perfect fit for Brendan Rodgers’ breakneck paced attacking philosophy.
For this Xi, he’s featuring on the right hand side, but expect Brendan Rodgers to use the £25million signing in a variety of positions throughout the season.
After a captivating season for Liverpool and an impressive World Cup campaign with England, it seems logical to assume that Raheem Sterling will be given a regular role in the Reds’ starting line-up next season.
The 19 year-old really came into his own last term, scoring and providing regularly as detailed below, and offering the Reds unique pace to make them particularly proficient on the counter-attack:
His dribbling at the World Cup caused Italy and Uruguay huge problems, and it also completely bamboozled Manchester City’s defence last season:
There is some debate however regarding how Sterling can be best utilised. As viewable below, his ultimate position remains unclear:
Liverpool may have lost one talismanic striker to Barcelona in Luis Suarez, but they’re still privy to the exceptional goalscoring skills of Daniel Sturridge.
As viewable below, the 24 year-old was the second-top scorer in the Premier League last season – and the highest-scoring Englishman:
He also netted for the Three Lions at the World Cup against Italy:
With his SAS partner now departed, Brendan Rodgers will expect an even bigger contribution from Sturridge next season.