There is an air of trepidation around Anfield at present unsure of what the future will bring. Liverpool finished 8th in the League last season, behind local rivals Everton. They spent a ton of cash. They sacked their legendary manager. Have given the top job to a rookie, who is looking to get rid of the club’s record signing for a record loss. They have been unable to get rid of the dead-weight at the club. They are running the risk of losing both their first choice center-backs. And to top things off, they have only signed one player since the transfer window opened a month ago – that too an untested Italian starlet. Can Liverpool really dream of cracking the top four?
Having illustrated everything that is troublesome around Anfield, one must also look at the positives. The biggest of which has to be Steven Gerrard’s return to form and fitness. Should Gerrard be available this season, Liverpool have the ability to mix it up with the best of them in the Premier League. Throw in the return of his midfield partner Lucas Leiva, and the Reds center of the park is taken care of.
Liverpool’s past 12 months though have indicated an over dependence on arguably what is one of the best center-back pairings in the Premier League, despite a patchy season for Pepe Reina. While a return to form for Reina will be crucial to their top four hopes, nothing is perhaps more important than hanging on to Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel. Should one or god forbid both men leave, Liverpool’s fate is sealed, as Rodgers team has done nothing this summer to reinforce the defence.
The other issue that Liverpool battled with last season was their inability to win matches at home, especially against teams that came and parked the bus in front of goal. In welcoming back players like Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani, Brendan Rodgers may have well covered that base. While no doubt expensive players to park on the bench, both men have exceptional vision, and the ability to create that little bit of magic which can create something out of nothing. Throw in a massive amount of hunger to prove themselves on Merseyside, and Liverpool have the ingredients to win a lot more games this season.
That leaves just one area of concern – scoring goals, and in Luis Suarez they do have a weapon that no team had an answer for last season.
Top four, here come Liverpool!