Liverpool 2014/15 Season Preview: New Signings Raise Expectations

Liverpool’s preseason coverage has been overshadowed by a single event — the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £75million in July. Most Liverpool fans will admit that the sale was of no surprise, and opinion has been pretty divided on the issue. He tied the all-time Premier League goalscoring record with 31 goals in that time, but also missed seven matches at the beginning of last season and would have missed many more this time around had he stayed.  But Liverpool’s preparations have rightly been due to the loss of Suarez, both because of the money he brought in and the goals that he provided. The club’s triumphant return to the Champions League has become a key factor in the club’s transfer strategy as well, as the club will need strong squad players for those early season matches in Europe and the domestic cups to keep the starters healthy.

With that out of the way, where does Liverpool stand before the Premier League kicks off? A marquee attacking player has yet to be signed, but Rodgers and Liverpool have made a few solid signings in attack and midfield that should help reinforce an already excellent squad. Rickie Lambert, while at an advanced age, brings a wealth of experience and goals to act as a backup to Daniel Sturridge. The club still, however, need to sign a big-name striker to either partner or compete with Sturridge on the front lines. Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling, and the hard-working Jordan Henderson all return on the back of a great season for each, and will be the key to Liverpool’s success this time around. New signings Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic should provide competition for those players and give Brendan Rodgers options off the bench. Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen had relatively good seasons last year, despite the former’s ill-timed mishap that all but sealed the title for Manchester City. Lucas Leiva’s injuries have made it hard for him to cement a place in the starting XI as of late, and the arrival of a young Emre Can won’t do the Brazilian any favors either. I expect to see Emre Can get some early chances to prove himself, and show why the club is obviously grooming him to take over for Gerrard in the coming years.

While it was Liverpool’s breathtaking attack that brought them to the threshold of the Premier League title, it was the club’s defense that bolted the door shut. A plethora of injuries kept Brendan Rodgers from having a consistent center back pairing, thus the back four never had the chance to achieve the chemistry needed for a successful defense. Ironically, Liverpool’s transfer business last summer consisted almost completely of defenders meant to solve this very problem. Mamadou Sakho was the only player to come out of that crop with any dignity left, and may indeed be a starter for the Reds alongside the excellent signing of former Southampton defender Dejan Lovren. The Croatian was phenomenal against Borussia Dortmund in the club’s final friendly, and could be the vocal, commanding leader that the back line hasn’t had since Jamie Carragher retired. The club’s senior fullbacks, Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique, have never been world-class, but they’ve basically “done the job” over the past couple seasons. Enrique is still coming off an injury that kept him out of the team most of last season, but academy product Jon Flanagan proved a more-than-adequate replacement. The signing of promising young left-back Alberto Moreno surely spells the end for Enrique, and should prod Flanagan to work even harder to replace the Spaniard. The club’s second fullback loan in as many seasons, Javier Manquillo looks to replace Glen Johnson, whose performances have failed to impress as of late.

Pepe Reina, a club favorite whose destiny was sealed last summer before his loan to Napoli, finally made a permanent move to Bayern Munich. It’s rumored that another goalkeeper will be brought in to challenge Simon Mignolet, who Brendan Rodgers considers a long-term project. Mignolet has slowly adapted to Brendan Rodgers’ style, and will hope to win over skeptics this season.

Many pundits have already predicted that Liverpool will fall back instead of building on last season’s success. But the club is used to being seen as the underdog; nobody expected them to go from seventh to competing for the title last year. Whether or not the club does what everyone thinks they should–pick up a marquee signing like Falcao, Reus, or Shaqiri–the players the club already has have the talent to go just as far, if not further, than the team did last year. The key to Liverpool’s season will be creating chemistry from front to back, hopefully forming a structured and disciplined back line and a potent, lethal attack.

IN: Emre Can (Bayer Leverkusen), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla), Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Lazar Markovic (Benfica), Javier Manquillo (loan, Atletico Madrid), Divock Origi (Lille)

OUT: Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Martin Kelly (Crystal Palace), Pepe Reina (Bayern Munich), Luis Alberto (loan, Malaga), Divock Origi (loan, Lille), Iago Aspas (loan, Sevilla), Andre Wisdom (loan, West Bromwich Albion), Brad Smith (loan, Swindon Town), Conor Coady (Huddlesfield Town)

Strengths: Creative attackers, quality defenders brought in, chemistry among attack and midfield, in-form striker in Daniel Sturridge, competition for midfield places

Weaknesses: Fresh defenders could need time to gel together, lack of sufficient backup or partners for Sturridge in attack, lack of clear-cut starter in defensive midfield

Final Position Prediction: 3rd

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12 thoughts on “Liverpool 2014/15 Season Preview: New Signings Raise Expectations”

  1. Liverpool will fill that striker role, even if it takes to the 11th hour on the last day of the transfer window. Rodgers has acquired quality at each position he’s targeted so far and I see no reason why that would not continue. I’m hoping it’s Lavezzi. I’ve seen alot of him and he impresses me more than Cavanni. His movement and timing of his runs upfront is comparable to Suarez. I’ve seen him finish many chances on fast breaks. I would take Bony next. Liverpool now, are at least, 2 players deep in every position except goal.

    Good point about the club returning 10 of their starting 11. Write them off at your peril.

    “We Go Again!” :)

  2. To illustrate a point about Suarez effectiveness down the stretch I looked up some stats.

    1/1/14 – 4/27/14

    Liverpool FC went unbeaten in 17 gms and had a 9 gm winning streak. They scored 52 goals in those 17 league games.

    Luis Suarez had 10 of them.

    He only had 2 winners.
    1 to open the scoring.
    1 to equalize.
    6 when the match was already decided.

    He added 7 assists.

    To compare Daniel Sturridge scored 11 goals and added 5 assists.

    Luis Suarez directly contributed to 17 of the 52 goals scored. Sturridge contributed directly to 16 of the 52 goals scored.

    SAS combined to produce only 4 of the 52 goals scored. So it wasn’t only Suarez to Sturridge or vice versa. Suarez and SAS were more effective BEFORE the Christmas break.

    This is not to minimize Suarez contribution to LFC, but to emphasize that, by the end of the year, LFC was alot more than Luis Suarez goal scoring when they were at their best.

  3. I think it’s only Liverpool fans who are convincing themselves about these summer signings.

    Rodgers keeps making the point that they haven’t made the same mistakes that spurs made yet I highly doubt Ricky Lambert is going to scare many EPL defenders. Too many average players have been brought in and if you look at Rodgers previous purchases in the market nearly every player except for Sturridge has been average at best . lets not forget he only got Sturridge by default after the board refused to sanction his move for Clint Dempsey.

    1. Lambert is there for certain matches. He won’t get a lot of playing time, and he sure isn’t there for CL matches. Look at any manager’s track record (including Saint Whiskeynose) and you’ll see a lot of “average” players having been purchased.

      LFC has brought plenty of quality depth this transfer window. Another proper forward, and I’m pleased with everything they’ve done.

      The Prem will be wide open again. I fancy Liverpool’s chances as much as any of the other top clubs and certainly more than Man U.

      1. Yeah but he was at utd for 25 years. Go look at the list of players Rodgers has signed in his first 2 season and you will see only the two mentioned above have been a success. Two out of ten isn’t a very good record for any manager.

  4. It’s very difficult to predict how well the new signings will fare for Liverpool. Based on what we saw in preseason Liverpool will continue to create chances and it’s left to be seen if they can continue to score like they did last season with Suarez in the squad.

    Liverpool will either challenge for the title or could miss out on a top 4 spot entirely. Such is the unknown factor with them. At least one thing we know about them is that they will be entertaining to watch again. I don’t see that changing. An addition of a world class striker will bolster their top 4 credentials but not guarantee it since the big unknown is still how well will the new signings do.

  5. Interesting stat published in the Liverpool ECHO today.

    “Over the last five seasons, clubs competing in the Champions League have had a 61% win ratio following a game in Europe – compared to a 59% ratio on the weekend before the game (the stats are similar for Europa League matches too).”

  6. Am love Liverpool and good things come when we get good players in the club singing the player of not used is not good like Mateo,isco,k,duda

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