Can a Suarez-less Liverpool progress in the Premier League & Champions League? Will Brendan Rodgers's grand plan pan out?
Brendan Rodgers’s Liverpool side finished 2nd in the Premier League last season, after looking for all the world like they would romp home to title success, before falling near the final hurdle. The season was dominated by some fantastic football in the front third, primarily by Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling, a threesome that scored over 60% of Liverpool’s 101 goals.
When Suarez wasn’t scoring them, he often played provider, with 13 assists, making almost half of Liverpool’s goals directly accountable to the man they have just sold to Barcelona. Even without statistics, anyone with a pair of eyes could’ve seen that last season’s success for Liverpool had a large dependence on the Uruguayan striker. By no means were they a One-Man-Army, but the contribution of the infamous biter will be a very tall order to overcome.
Rodgers reeled in a fat stack of cash from the sale of their key-man and he isn’t shy about spending it to bring players in. Forwards Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana have both been brought in from Southampton to bolster the attacking play, along with center midfielder Emre Can from German club Bayer Leverkusen. Most recently they have secured Lazar Markovic from Benfica, who is a roaming winger that can also play up front, not too dissimilar to Sterling in many ways.
The combined total of the spending so far comes to nigh on £60million, which is 80% of the income from the Suarez sale. That isn’t to say his spending spree is over though, as Liverpool will have gone into this transfer window with a speculate-to-accumulate mentality, so the Suarez money is just extra to a pot that already held value.
So where will next season take Liverpool? Do you think they can maintain or better their 2nd place finish of last season? Will Arsenal, Chelsea and / or Manchester United gain ground on them this year?
Liverpool will be back playing Champions League football for the first time since 2009 and this time will be expected to surpass that campaign, where they failed to qualify from the group stages and fell into the Europa League.
These extra games will give them a much fuller schedule than they had to handle last season, will this affect their success? Will the Champions League games put too much strain on their top players and cause their league form to suffer? Or will the prestige of Europe’s greatest club competition attract enough players and lift the morale of the team to a level where they push on stronger?
They were crowned Champions League winners in 2005 and runners up in 2007, so they are no strangers to success in Europe, will they be able to relive some of that glory with the squad they have now?