Despite winning a trophy, it was another rather uninspiring season for one of the most famous clubs in the world. Under a new coaching philosophy, how will the Reds fare after a disappointing 2011/12 campaign? Check out our season preview for Liverpool.
Liverpool tossed and turned their way to an eighth-place finish in the Premier League, finishing 12 points outside of the Europa League
qualifying spots and 17 outside of the top four.
The Reds did spare their blushes, though, by winning the
Carling Cup, assuring themselves a spot in Europe's second-tier competition.
However, for a team with clear-cut quality at a lot of
positions, starting, of course, with Steven Gerrard in the middle, the results
just didn't cut it. Liverpool often played their best soccer against the top
teams in the league, but then went out and lost to the Swansea, West Brom,
Wigan, QPR, and Bolton. How can you be a top four side and lose so many points
to inferior opposition?
A new season brings new faces
Steps were indeed taken over the summer to take this ship in
a new direction, though Liverpool can still be found as the sixth-placed team
in the futures odds for the new season. The Reds are priced at +3300 to win the
league, behind Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and
Kenny Dalglish was relieved of his coaching duties and, after
much speculation, it was decided that Brendan Rodgers would be the new man in
charge at Anfield.
Rodgers brought a pleasing brand of soccer to Swansea City,
making a side with unknown names into a a dangerous unit. Now, with more
weapons at his disposal, the hope is Liverpool can finally return to their
glory days of the past.
There hasn't been too much activity in the transfer market,
though there is still time for deals to be made.
Fabio Borini, formerly of Roma, has been the one “big”
signing of the summer, while it's likely that Joe Allen will be on board at
some point in the near future too. Borini is quick, gets himself into good
positions and should work well with Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard going
With Borini now at Anfield, the general consensus was that
there was no room for Andy Carroll, especially since Rodgers is adopting a new
style of play that focuses on short passing and quick movements. That is most
certainly not Carroll's forte.
Liverpool have fielded offers for their tall striker and
even accepted a bid from West Ham, only for Carroll to deny the move and state
publicly that he wants to stay on.
The pieces are there: can Rodgers put them together?
The good news for Liverpool fans is this is definitely a
dangerous team, especially if the key parts manage to stay healthy. Gerrard
continues to dominate in the center, and he and Suarez have linked up beautifully
when in the lineup together.
Speaking of Suarez, he's given +1200 odds of claiming the
Premier League top goalscorer award, with Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, Robin
van Persie, and Fernando Torres the only strikers ahead of him.
It will be nice for Suarez to have another quick-minded
attacker like Borini to work with. The goalscoring duties won't have to sit
squarely on the Uruguayan’s shoulders and that should give him more of the free
role he enjoys.
Liverpool will also be getting a healthy Lucas back and he's
one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. With him standing in front
of a solid back four of Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Jose
Enrique and one of the world's best goalies in Pepe Reina, the Reds should be
hard to break down in 2012/13.
Gerrard is obviously a lock for center mid, but Liverpool
will have plenty of other options in that area too, including Allen (most
likely), Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Joe Cole, Jay Spearing and even Jonjo
The wings are much more of a concern, especially after the
dreadful season we saw out of new signing Stewart Downing. Downing didn't
register a single goal or assist in his first year at Anfield, so at least he
can't do any worse.
If Liverpool can manage to
bring in a speedy, skillful winger and can keep their other stars healthy, the
pieces are there to crack into the top four. We'll see soon enough if Rodgers
is the right man
for one of the most difficult jobs in soccer.