Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Liverpool Set For Glory After Successful Summer

When Brendan Rodgers arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2012 the air of anticipation around Liverpool fans was a sure sign that the club was pulling itself out from the lows seen under Kenny Dalglish.

While Rodgers' first year in charge may not have been the most successful for Liverpool, a strong second half, seeing them only score two points less than champions Manchester United in the final 18 games, gave Kopites much to be excited about.

In the summer transfer window all the speculation was surrounding the future of Luis Suarez. Comments by the Uruguayan and interest from Arsenal seemed to make it more likely the man who all but carried Liverpool for much of last season would be heading through the door.

Fast forward to present day however and Luis Suarez is still a Liverpool player, solid signings for good prices mean the Reds have not broken the bank but have strengthened the squad and three wins from the opening three Premier League games have fans believing the Anfield side can fight for a top four finish this season.

That target is perhaps more in reach now than it ever has been in recent years and should success return to Anfield, this summer will be remembered as the moment fortunes turned.

In keeping Luis Suarez, Liverpool now have two out-and-out strikers with the potential of scoring 20+ goals a season- something that has been desperately lacking at Anfield, even in the Fernando Torres days.

Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were forming a good partnership until the Uruguayan's biting incident with Branislav Ivanovic but with Suarez set to return to action, probably against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup, the current average of a goal a game will surely increase.

To further that, Suarez has plenty of motivation this season. He is not where he wants to be in terms of Liverpool not playing in Europe so his desire means not only will he have to lead Liverpool's assault on the Champions League places but also prove himself to clubs currently in that competition that he is worthy of playing for them.

Liverpool fans are more than aware that should another year pass without making it back into the top four then Suarez will be out the door and this time they won't have a case of which to argue.

Liverpool however is probably in their best place now since the last time they made the Champions League back in 2009, and that is thanks to a more balanced, stronger team.

Philippe Coutinho continues to terrorize defences throughout the Premier League with his pace and skill, as does Raheem Sterling. The signing of Iago Aspas also looks very promising with the British-born Spaniard looking a threat as he continues to adjust to the Premier League.

While Luis Alberto hasn't been used much thus far, he too will provide the impetus from midfield with Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard the powerhouses in the centre of the pitch. The arrival of Victor Moses on loan from Chelsea is another signing that only adds strength in depth to Liverpool going forward.

In defence Lucas continues to be the rock just in front of a back four that is also now looking very formidable. The importance of keeping Daniel Agger, following interest from Barcelona, is under-estimated and with Martin Skrtel keen to prove a point as he did against United the ability to keep clean sheets will only be a help to Liverpool's chances.

Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson add their own challenge for opposing teams being a major force going forward and at the back and the signings of Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori along with Kolo Toure mean Liverpool have plenty of very capable options in defence.

Finally, the arrival of Simon Mignolet has certainly given Liverpool another future stalwart in goal. Pepe Reina remains on Liverpool's books (currently on loan at Napoli), but the start Mignolet has made with the fine penalty save against Stoke City and the good performances against Aston Villa and Man Utd only add to the sense that Liverpool have a team to be afraid of this season.

Certainly with all the potential there and confidence currently sky high it is all about momentum this season, the red half of Merseyside has had it's best summer window in years and if the gains made on paper continue to show on the pitch then maybe a return to the Champions League could be just the start of a new successful era at Anfield.

No comments: