The end of the 2012 season came at the wrong time for the Reds. Results were going their way, especially on days where their performances didn’t quite deserve three points.
Brendan Rodgers second term at Liverpool started with one of the major headlines of the transfer window – where does the future of Luis Suarez lie? In the end, the Reds managed to keep their main man while also conducting other smart pieces of business within the window.
Jamie Carragher, the rock at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, retired after 17 years with the club. Liverpool responded by bringing in three central defenders to attempt to fill the void. A striker in the form of Iago Aspas was brought in to replace the out-going Andy Carroll who did not endure the greatest spell at Liverpool. Loan deals for a few players were also entered into. As a result the out-going players were all replaced so the squad is general looks good.
This is a break-down on Liverpool’s major transfer dealings:
Players in: Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Kolo Toure, Simon Mignolet, Tiago Illori, Mamadou Sakho, Aly Cissokho (loan), Victor Moses (loan)
Players out: Danny Wilson, Peter Gulasci, Andy Carroll, Jamie Carragher, Jonjo Shelvey, Stewart Downing, Jay Spearing, Dani Pacheco, Oussama Assaidi (loan), Pepe Reina (loan), Fabio Borini (loan), Suso (loan), Conor Coady (loan), Jack Robinson (loan)
This is what I believe Liverpool’s strongest starting XI would look like:
Last season, Rodgers told the team that he did not care what their name was and what they cost the club – if they played badly, they would be dropped. This resulted in a lot of their younger players needing to step up. Many of them exceeded my expectations of them and this can only add pressure to the current first team as they know there are players waiting to step up if and when called upon.
Rodgers has brought in more defensive minded players while letting go of more of seasoned attacking players. This suggests that he identified defence as an area in need of strengthening, which has now taken place. Letting attackers go without bringing in replacements means to me that Liverpool will depend on their youth once more. Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe will likely be the beneficiaries of the departures.
This season, Rodgers will be keen to improve on last season’s results. So far, the Reds have been without Suarez due to disciplinary reasons, but they have managed to win their first three league games. Three wins, three clean sheets, three Sturridge goals – three very good team performances. There is something different about this Liverpool side, a confidence I have not seen since the 2009 season where they pushed United to the second last game of the season. Team morale is high and the new talent in the squad play the type of football Rodgers has always been interested in.
While their performances have been impressive thus far, the season is still in its infancy and Liverpool has the unfortunate habit of being inconsistent. Brilliant one week and very average the next, Liverpool will need to overcome this shortcoming should they wish to take part in the Champions League once more. The strength in the other squads does make this a more challenging goal but a European finish would be a success for Liverpool, with Rodgers identifying the top four as their major goal for the season.
Feel free to comment on this post. Whether you agree or disagree, this is all for the love of the game and for the fans.