Monday 29 December 2014

LIVERPOOL: Transfers, predictions, best XI and fixtures

All you need to know about Brendan Rodgers' men for the coming season

Published 13/08/2014 | 12:28

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

Aside from the loss of the star who scored 31 goals and won double Player of the Year, there is no reason why Liverpool can not be a threat again this season.

They scored over 100 goals in finishing second, and even if they are 20 short of this tally over the next eight months without Luis Suarez that would still be enough firepower to mount a serious Premier League challenge.

Their prospects will be determined not just by how they fill the void left by the Uruguayan but whether they can be meaner at the back. For Brendan Rodgers, the evolution of this side is maintaining fluency in attack while eradicating the carelessness in defence that often meant his team had to score at least four to guarantee victory.

The signing of Dejan Lovren for £20 million and the public pursuit of two new full-backs underlines how much Rodgers needed to reshape Liverpool's back four with Javier Manquillo coming in at right full and left back Alberto Moreno set to complete a £12m move.

There has been plenty to be enthused about in pre-season, particularly new signing Emre Can who looks a possible steal, the creativity of Philippe Coutinho and the form of Raheem Sterling who is starting to show signs he can be a prolific goalscorer. His finishing is improving by the week.

Rodgers goes into the new season hearing similar messages to a year ago. No one thought Liverpool good enough to compete for the title last summer but they defied expectations. No club has spent nearly £100 million in a single transfer window and been expected to be weaker - with the exception of Spurs last year - so there is no reason to presume Liverpool will ape what happened at White Hart Lane post-Gareth Bale.

It is an illogical assumption. As Rodgers has said, Liverpool have targeted the 'right profile' of players rather than fantasy football names.

Privately, the Liverpool manager will be happy if little is expected of Liverpool without Suarez, but if you offered him fourth and a major trophy now he would probably take it.

 

Manager: Brendan Rodgers.

Best starting XI: Mignolet; Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno; Gerrard, Henderson; Lallana, Coutinho, Sterling; Sturridge.

Prediction: Liverpool will continue to be the team to watch but consolidating Champions League status will be the first priority in an even tighter race for the top four spots.

Transfers

In: Adam Lallana (Southampton, £25m), Dejan Lovren (Southampton, £20m), Lazar Markovic (Benfica, £20m), Divock Origi (Lille, £10m), mre Can (Bayer Leverkusen, £9.75m), Rickie Lambert (Southampton, £4m), Lawrence Vigouroux, Kevin Stewart (Both Tottenham Hotspur), Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid, loan), Divock Origi (Lille, £10m), Alberto Moreno (Atletico, £12m)

Out: Luis Suarez (Barcelona, £75m) Villyan Bijev (Slavia Sofia), Jakub Sokolik (Yeovil Town), Luis Alberto (Malaga, Loan), Iago Aspas (Sevilla, Loan), Andre Wisdom (West Bromwich Albion, Loan).

Released: Yalany Baio, Yusuf Mersin, Michael Ngoo, Craig Roddan, Stephen Sama.

Tickets

• Cheapest: £37 (The Kop)

• Most Expensive: £59

Dependant on Category of the game (A, B, or C). Cheapest category is C. Cheapest seats are in the Kop end near each corner flag.

Ticket Office Number 0843 170 5555

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