Jon Elcock explains why he thinks Liverpool can win the Premier League this season.
After finishing second last season, do the Reds have enough over their rivals to go one step further.
The bookies and pundits seem to be of the opinion that we will be scrapping for 4th place and ultimately finish 4th or 5th behind Chelsea, City, Arsenal and Man Utd. These are the same prophets who expected us to finish 5th/6th last year!
Liverpool WILL win the league. Here’s why:
City will lack the desire to fight for the title again. There are a number of seemingly disaffected players – Yaya, Milner, Sinclair as well a potentially destabilized Joe Hart with Pellegrini’s favourite Caballero coming in. This combined with a world cup hangover for many of their players will mean the title will be out of City’s reach this year.
Chelsea finished 3rd last year and have signed Costa and Fabregas to complete their team. Costa has had 1 great season in Spain, a poor World Cup and now has a different league to cope with. He may thrive in England but it is not a given, the other options up front – an ageing Drogba and a broken Torres – don’t look great. Fabregas is on a downward spiral after over 10 years of football at the highest level – evidenced by Barcelona’s keenness to offload after years of trying to sign him back from Arsenal. Mourinho seems be on a downward spiral of his own. He lacks the intensity of his first spell at Chelsea, returning tail between his legs to work at Chelsea and now even he doesn’t seem to believe his own hype any more.
United finished 7th and have signed an unfit left-back, a decent young midfielder and another centre-back/left-back, as well as selling 3 of the most successful defenders in recent history. Their first choice back 3 is likely to be Smalling, Jones and Rojo – most teams in the league will fancy their chances against that defence. Up front and in the number 10 role, they have quality but midfield and defence are still an issue.
Arsenal – every year they hope to challenge. They have quality and they will beat most of the lower teams in the league but when the pressure comes they will crumble like a meringue in a vice. Tactically, Arsenal have little variation and Wenger will be out-thought by better tacticians. Time and again, Wenger is out-thought by opposition managers and is unable to react in games.
Liverpool, who finished 7th, have improved their defence with the acquisition of Lovren to provide leadership and organisation as well as depth at full back in Moreno and Manquillo. In midfield they have excellent options in Can, Gerrard, Henderson, Allen & Lucas.
Suarez, the league’s leading goalscorer, has now gone but fortunately in Sturridge we still have the best striker in the league. Additionally, Rodgers is no longer compromised by trying to fit 2 strikers into his system. Hopefully another striker will be added to provide back up for Sturridge in addition to Lambert and Borini (if he stays). Behind the striker, Lallana and Markovic have been added to Coutinho and Sterling to provide creativity and goals. I expect Sterling to help fill the Suarez void by going up another level by increasing his goal and assist output.
The biggest reason for optimism though is the manager. Rodgers has the capacity to improve individuals and teams through his coaching and management as well as being tactically strong. I expect the reds to hit the front early and dominate the league.