Manager: Brendan Rodgers
What’s been happening: As ever, Luiz Suarez has been the major focus for everything Liverpool related. Seemingly angling for a move abroad because the British press were ‘persecuting’ him, and then to Arsenal as they could provide Champions League football, it now looks like Suarez will now be staying put! Yesterday, respected journalist Martin Charquero reported that – “Luis Suarez has confirmed to me that he will not be leaving Liverpool. The support of the fans in the last few weeks has influenced his decision. Suarez sees it as probable that he will renew his contract with Liverpool.” Whether one can believe anything that comes out of the Uruguayans mouth anymore is probably up for debate, but hopefully this marks the end of a saga that has dragged on for months.
Outside of Suarez, news out of Anfield has generally been pretty good. The pre-season record reads played six, won six, scored 17, conceded one – and some new faces, most notably Toure and Aspas, have looked the goods. Another big signing has been mooted, and after missing out on Henrikh Mkhitaryan it now looks like the Merseysiders could have Anzhi Makhachkala midfielder Willian in their sights.
What could go wrong: Last Thursday, owner John W Henry stated that the top four is not just an aspiration this season, but essential to Fenway Sports Group’s designs for the club. That single sound bite alone could well turn into an albatross around Rodger’s neck. The pressure on Rodgers and his squad doesn’t stop at just the board either – there is a palpable sense of belief amongst Liverpool supporters as well. Rodgers was afforded a rare patience in his first season in charge, but a favourable draw and some good form at the end of last year has left expectations sky high. Last year Liverpool only had 5 points come the end of September. An absolute minimum of 10 needs to be reached in the same period this year, or the Rodgers project may start to crumble in on itself.
Ins: Simon Mignolet (AFC Sunderland), Iago Aspas (Celta de Vigo), Luis Alberto (Sevilla FC), Kolo Toure (Manchester City)
Outs: Stewart Downing (West Ham United), Jay Spearing (Bolton Wanderers), Jack Robinson (FC Blackpool – Loan), Pepe Reina (SSC Napoli – Loan), Krisztian Adorjan (FC Groningen – Loan), Conor Coady (Sheffield United – Loan), Suso (UD Almeria – Loan), Michael Ngoo (Yeovil Town – Loan), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City), Andy Carroll (West Ham United), Danny Wilson (Heart of Midlothian FC), Peter Gulacsi (FC Salzburg), Jaime Carragher (Retired)
The Blog FC Predicts: 12th. Which will probably anger many a Liverpool fan. But this season will be already decided for Liverpool by the end of September. If they can be sitting on the aforementioned 10 points (and, for Reds fans, hopefully more) after the Sept 29th away game at Sunderland, they will be able to hold their position and may even be able to push for further honours. But anything less, and the murmurs of discontent will begin.
How wrong are we? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!