Liverpool and Juventus are traditionally two of the biggest names in European football, who have fallen from glory somewhat in recent years. The Turin giants were caught up in a scandal domestically and got themselves relegated from Serie A, but most importantly have returned to somewhere near their best.
The Merseysiders however have relinquished their place as one of England’s top teams, and have failed to qualify for the Champions League for longer than the Kop would care to remember. So what can the Reds change to mimic Juventus’ rejuvenation?
A strong midfield wins games
Liverpool have had some top-notch midfield players don their red jersey over the years – player capable of winning tight games through their influence. Despite a number of strong midfield players in Brendan Rodgers’ current squad, there is still room for improvement.
Steven Gerrard continues to be an inspiration and leader for his side, while Lucas Leiva when fully match fit is as good as anyone in England in the role in front of his defence.
However, the likes of Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have failed to live up to inflated transfer fees since their moves to Anfield. Another top midfielder is needed at Liverpool for the side to dominate possession and therefore win games.
The current Juventus side have a wealth of midfield talent, and it is this core that dominates games from them domestically. Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio are seasoned international players that rule the roost for the Bianconeri, while the potential of Paul Pogba, energy of Kwadwo Asamoah and guile of Mauricio Isla add further strength.
Spread the goals around
Liverpool have an immensely talented, if slightly misguided at times, forward in the form of Luis Suarez. The Uruguay international is the side’s main goal threat, and has netted 23 goals for the Reds in the Premier League this term.
Rodgers’ men have relied on Suarez to get the goals to win matches, and need Daniel Sturridge, Fabio Borini and other players to share the goal burden if they are to make moves back towards the division’s top four.
Juventus on the other hand have scored 64 goals in Serie A this term, the most in the division, but do not have a player in the top 15 goalscorers in the league, or anyone who has scored more than 10 goals.
The Old Lady’s four main strikers, Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Matri, Mirko Vucinic and Sebastien Giovinco have shared the goal-scoring task, and are well accompanied by the side’s midfield. Juventus’ goal-threat comes from all over the pitch; Liverpool’s a lot of the time is based solely around Suarez.
A new home
Juventus’ rise to domestic prominence has coincided with their move to a new stadium, with the Turin side making Juventus Stadium an extremely tough place to come to. Increased revenue has helped to balance the books, while the supporter base have a home of their own to support their side.
The Kop and Anfield are iconic in English football, and once upon a time, teams dreaded travelling to face the red side of Merseyside. However, this is no longer the case.
Despite their home form being slightly better this season than last, Liverpool have only won eight of their 17 home games in the Premier League this term – a feat that is never going to be good enough to get them back into the Champions League.
The Reds have been tossing up whether to stick with the historic site at Anfield, or invest in a new stadium.
The 45,000 odd seats at Anfield does not compare to the capacities at Old Trafford, the Emirates Stadium or the Etihad Stadium, and perhaps Liverpool would be given a shot in the arm on the pitch by inheriting a new home. The financial benefit of have 20,000+ more seats to sell would tell over time too.