Club legend Mark Lawrenson believes that this season could be the one where Liverpool reclaims their place in the top four of the Premier League, with Champions League qualification likely to be at the expense of Arsenal.
After Roy Hodgson presided over a dismal start to last season, things picked up at Anfield with the appointment of Kenny Dalglish and the club finished the season with a flourish.
The team’s renaissance was in-part aided by large investment in the likes of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, and Lawrenson believes that the additions of Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam this summer will help push the club back into the top four.
“Liverpool has got a great chance,” said the former centre-back.
“The business they’ve done since January has been absolutely massive. Dalglish has brought in top quality players like Carroll, Suarez, Adam, Downing and Henderson and with the sales of Torres and Babel, the whole thing has only cost them £40 million.
“Five players for £40m? That’s great business in anybody’s eyes. With Suarez having such a great Copa America, bringing him in for the price they got him at and selling Torres was massive.
“However, I think some of the supporters may have got carried away – I can’t see Liverpool winning the league. They will probably be nearer fourth than first."
With the level of investment at Anfield providing a stark contrast to limited goings-on at Eastlands, Stamford Bridge and the Emirates, Lawrenson believes that Liverpool may have made up a lot of ground on their rivals.
Arsenal, in particular, has had a turbulent transfer window, with much emphasis on retaining the services of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri rather than recruiting new names.
Lawrenson believes that it is this lack of depth to the squad, as well as the added pressures of European football, that could allow Liverpool to sneak in ahead of Arsenal to qualify for the 2012-13 Champions League.
“I think Manchester United will win it, then City, Chelsea and then I’m going to say Liverpool in fourth,” said the BBC pundit.
“I think with Arsenal there’s too much predictability around the likes of Nasri and Fabregas.
“In terms of experience, they have also got no centre halves or a goalkeeper and other than Fabregas, no leader. That’s why they fell apart last season.
“Most crucial will be their involvement in Europe, which Liverpool doesn’t have. This will be big for Dalglish’s team at the business end of the season, with no travelling all over the continent or playing on Thursday nights.
“From that point of view, I think Liverpool might just do Arsenal."
Despite the club’s heavy investment in players, some detractors have claimed that Dalglish is now inundated with attacking options, while the defensive needs of the side have been largely ignored.
Lawrenson does not believe that the abundance of talented midfielders now at the club is problematic at all, though agrees that Liverpool could do with defensive cover in order to sustain their push for as high a Premier League finish as possible.
“You can always sell midfielders, the Jay Spearings of this world, for example, you can always make money from," he said.
“Kenny won’t be worried about having so [much] to choose from in midfield. He’ll have a selection headache, which is the last of his worries.
“Fergie doesn’t worry about what team he’s going to pick, he just picks it. Kenny will be thinking ‘horses for courses’ and he’ll have all sorts of options that he didn’t have last season.”
With the start of the season a little under two weeks away, the former Liverpool man believes that should defensive cover be targeted, it should be players who would be quick to adapt to their surroundings.
Liverpool has been linked with a number of Premier League defenders, a few of which Lawrenson believes would be smart purchases, perhaps partly financed by cash-plus-players deals.
"In an ideal world Liverpool would get someone who has played in the Premier League before and someone who speaks English. I say that because they would settle in quicker,” he said.
“Everyone says [Jose] Enrique is in his last year at Newcastle – you’d definitely take him.
“Stephen Warnock gets linked every single time. He’s been at the club, is a local boy and knows what it’s all about but maybe Alex McLeish taking over at Villa has changed the situation, as he was frozen out under Gerard Houllier.
“Centre half-wise Kenny wanted Phil Jones but obviously couldn’t get him.
“The money wanted for Gary Cahill would probably stop that happening. Unless you could do a deal involving a couple makeweights – that’s a possibility. One of the things that Kenny will be thinking is that he can now offload fringe players in such deals.”