Liverpool Premier League Preview
Players In: Fabio Borini, Joe Allen,
Players Out: Dirk Kuyt, Fabio Aurelio, Maxi Rodriguez, Alberto Aquilani, Craig Bellamy
Liverpool’s summer can be summed up so far with new manager, new central midfielder, new striker, no wingers. Brendan Rodgers has taken a huge gamble to accept this job and all that goes with it. Overhaul a squad that is littered with players from the last three managers with a minimal level of investment all whilst being King Kenny’s replacement. Oh, and do it all in a pleasing to the eye tika-taka way.
Joe Allen will be central in several ways to Brendan Rodgers’ plans as he will be asked to fill the same pass and move position in the Liverpool midfield. He will also help the incumbent players cope with the change in system and be something of a voice for Rodgers on the pitch. So no pressure on a player who only turned 22 in March. His performances for Swansea last season and TeamGB showed he has the ability but a lot will depend on his character and we’re backing him to be more of a success than Jordan Henderson.
Liverpool’s major weakness last season was putting the ball in the back of the net. Whilst Luis Suarez hit the woodwork the most times last season in the Premier League he only managed 11 goals in 31 games which ultimately wasn’t good enough. Suarez is more likely to play out wide with Borini through the middle and with the Italian’s poacher’s instinct and Suarez’s quick feet they should be a lively combination. Liverpool’s pursuit of Borini was relentless on the backing of Rodgers and a lot will depend on him.
If Liverpool don’t sign another winger before the transfer window shuts it would be a massive surprise and Theo Walcott should really be the player they are focusing on. His pace can stretch any defence and pace is a commodity in short supply at Anfield at the moment. He is also a lot further on in his development that Scott Sinclair.
First game analysis:
Not an ideal first game for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, who seemed to carry off from where they left off last season; creating hosts of chances and not taking them. Luis Suarez could be sat on four goals already, the three headers he spurned beg the Andy Carroll sized question, and combined with a centre half pairing who don’t look comfortable on the ball, Liverpool could be in for a prolonged period of change. Stevie G didn’t look comfortable, and with Borini and Suarez frequently interchanging positions there is no Danny Graham figurehead to base their play around. Another striker is needed, but will Liverpool or Rodgers break the bank?
If Rodgers can get everything ticking early on then Liverpool could be an outside contender for a Champions League place, which although hard to hear for Liverpool fans is a stark reflection of the loss of momentum suffered in recent years. If Gerrard can stay fit and regain his form they will cause every team problems. Will be a struggle to displace anyone from the top four.