If we go back to the end of the 2008/09 Premier League season, we’ll see Liverpool sitting in 2nd, only four points behind the champions Manchester United. Prior to last season, this was Liverpool’s best finish in the league since the 2001/02 season. After the 2008/09 season, a bunch of mediocre league finishes outside the top four followed for The Reds till they finished 2nd last season, only two points behind the champions Manchester City.
Liverpool currently sits in 9th spot in the Premier League this season, and are yet to show any sign of being title contenders. They are yet to win back-to-back games, lost to sides like West Ham United and Aston Villa, no real goal scoring threat with consistency, and still with a leaky defence, meaning they have conceded just as many goals as they have scored. Are Liverpool on course to repeat what happened after the 2008/09 season?
Are Liverpool genuine title contenders? Or just one season wonders?
Throughout the course of last season, the Merseyside based club only lost six games in the league, but so far this season after seven games, they have lost three. Their defence are partially to blame for this poor statistic due to the fact they have conceded 10 goals, six of those games coming in the last four games. After seven games last season, Liverpool had only conceded five goals. Liverpool’s defence last season was still poor in quality, though, considering Manchester City only conceded 37 goals and Chelsea, who finished in 3rd, only conceded 27 throughout the whole of the season, and Liverpool finished conceding 50. Although they did make additions to their defence last summer with Croatian Dejan Lovren and Spaniard Alberto Moreno, the defence is still conceding too many goals for the league position they aspire to be sitting in.
It’s obvious that Liverpool’s poor defence last season had a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card in the form of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, and this was one of the main reasons why they were able to finish in 2nd. The now-Barcelona striker scored 31 goals from 33 appearances for Liverpool last season in the league, and also got the Reds out of tough situations on several occasions. For his performances, he received several individual awards including PFA Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season and FWA Footballer of the Year.
So far this season, Liverpool are lacking anyone that can do what Suarez was able to do last season. Despite being suspended for the first five games of the season, the Uruguayan was able to score six goals in 10 games into the season last year. This season, Liverpool’s top goal scorer is Englishman Raheem Sterling, who has scored three goals from seven appearances. Suarez’s strike partner from last season, Englishman Daniel Sturridge, who scored 21 goals from 29 appearances last season, has failed to make an impact so far this season due to a thigh injury. Suarez’s so called’ replacement, Italian Mario Balotelli, has also failed to make an impact and is yet to score or provide an assist for the Reds in the league.
Every single team that wants to compete for the title, or even a top four spot, improves every year whether that is in skill or player additions. Manchester United have brought in some world-class players like Argentine Angel di Maria and Colombian Radamel Falcao, Chelsea have changed the way they play by bringing in Spaniard Diego Costa, Manchester City are still dominant in their games, and Arsenal always seem to find a way of putting together three or four good runs a season. Liverpool, however, haven’t done anything. They haven’t replaced Suarez who achieved so many results for them last season, and now his cloud of amazement has disappeared, their defence is being exposed for what it really is.
For Liverpool to compete for title contention or even a top four spot, they’ll need Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City to slip up, which isn’t going to happen.
Liverpool ARE one season wonders.