Liverpool 2014/15 Season
Premier League: 6th
FA Cup: Semi Final
League Cup: Semi Final
One can sense a renewed optimism pervading among the Liverpool fans, especially with the new arrivals in the summer. And yet there lies a trepidation; a fear of regressing further. Liverpool had spent big in the 2014/15 season as well; Brendan Rodgers vowed to fight for the title, and yet what it turned out was a demoralising campaign for the Reds. What’s the guarantee that history will not repeat again?
One cannot escape the feeling that this is going to be a decisive season for Rodgers. He has created a myth that here is a man who knows a things or two about how good and attractive football should be played. Many say it is his self consecrated myth. The success of the 2013/14 season took him almost to the level of idol worshipping among the fans, and yet one year later, the same faithfuls had started doubting whether he is really that good enough.
After a dismal run of just one win in five Premier League matches towards the end of last season, it seemed like Rodgers would be axed during the summer. However, Fenway Sports Group have kept faith in him and backed his project by injecting cash in the transfer market again. He has to deliver now, or else could well be facing the sack.
New signings could make a difference
On a positive note, the signings made in the summer could actually take the side to a new level, provided the strings are properly pulled from behind. The loss of Steven Gerrard is an irreparable damage, but James Milner, with his industry and guile, could actually leave a better impact in the midfield than the departed legend.
Big things are expected from Nathaniel Clyne, a top young talent, who became the fourth player to join Liverpool from Southampton in the past 12 months. Christian Benteke will likely to become the focal point of Liverpool’s attack, but the Belgian will be under constant pressure to justify his £32m price tag. With Danny Ings, and Divock Origi in the ranks as well, the strike options will look good, once Daniel Sturridge returns to full fitness.
The pick of the bunch, however is Roberto Firmino, who completed a £29m move from Bundesliga club Hoffenheim. The Brazilian attacking midfielder is by no means a like for like replacement for Raheem Sterling, who joined Manchester City in the summer, but he will be relied upon, along with his fellow compatriot Philippe Coutinho, to provide a constant source of creativity.
Lack of Europe boon for Liverpool
The only factor which could work in Liverpool’s favour if they are to finish within top four is their lack of European commitment this season. Rodgers has the experience of guiding a team to second in the league, when Liverpool didn’t have any European games to play for. He will get plenty of time to tinker with his strategy and tactics and prepare his team accordingly ahead of almost every single Premier League games.
Not only Rodgers, but some of the Liverpool players are also under extreme pressure to prove their worth. The likes of Lazar Markovic, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, or even Alberto Moreno need to step up to the plate and prove their true mettle.
Jordan Henderson will also face an acid test in his career – not only he needs to prove that he is worthy to lead the side but also he is capable of filling the big boots of club legend Steven Gerrard. The England international has developed into a fine player under Rodgers, and his form will be key to Liverpool’s success this season.
For a club like Liverpool, finishing in any position below top four is simply unacceptable, and the club must ensure they do not regress further after a disappointing 6th place finish last term. At the same time, one cannot help bust ask are they really strong enough to overtake any of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and United and get into top four?
SL prediction: 5th