Liverpool are unlikely to make the top four this season but the team are progressing under Brendan Rodger and a title challenge next year is a real possibility
It’s easy to take pops at Liverpool. It’s now 23 years without a title and although Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim that he no longer checks for their league position was deliberately provocative there was some truth in his words. The Reds are not challengers at the moment.
However, there are signs under Brendan Rodgers that they can be. This season may be a write off but next term could well be a big one for Liverpool FC. Here are five reasons why they can be title challengers in 2013/14:
Liverpool have finally appointed a manager that can take the club forward. Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish were never going to be long term solutions but Brendan Rodgers genuinely is someone who could be at Anfield for the next decade. The Northern Irishman hasn’t had the easiest of starts to his Liverpool career but he has carried himself with assurance and dignity throughout his first six months at Anfield. He is a steadying influence on the players, fans and owners and that is exactly what is needed for the club to push on.
Robin van Persie is likely to sweep the Player of the Year awards but there is a strong case for saying that Suarez is the best striker in the Premier League. His work rate is frequently praised, and rightly so, but that shouldn’t overshadow the sheer technical brilliance of the Uruguayan. He scores goals from nowhere, whether it’s beating three or four players in the penalty box or picking a ball out of the sky with his chest. He is a title winning player and if Liverpool can keep him this summer then they will be halfway there to having a title winning team.
Okay, it hasn’t been great at Anfield over the last 12 months but things have really picked up in recent times with one win in the first six home matches of the season reversed to be just one defeat in the last five. It’s not just the victories though but the manner of the wins that have been impressive with teams like Wigan, Sunderland and Fulham being put to the sword by the Reds. These are the sides that Liverpool dropped points against last season and these are the sides that need to be dealt with comfortably by title challengers. At the moment Liverpool are doing just that and the lower to mid table teams are beginning to fear playing in front of the Kop once more.
There’s money to be spent and players want to come
Daniel Sturridge went a little over the top when describing Liverpool as a ‘humungous’ club but the young Englishman’s words were as reassuring to supporters as the fact that the board had sanctioned his £12 million transfer. The money has always been available for transfers but often Liverpool have found themselves usurped by other clubs. The Reds reputation is rising once more in both the UK and abroad and that should mean that Brendan Rodgers can now be truly competitive in the transfer market, which means less Paul Koncheskys and more Xabi Alonsos arriving at Anfield.
Much has been made of the players that left Anfield over the past 12 months but the exodus of the likes of Dirk Kuyt, Max Rodriguez, Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll has not only lowered the wage bill but also helped to change the atmosphere are the club. The new players are all interconnected with Fabio Borini and Joe Allen having played together under Rodgers at Swansea, Daniel Sturridge having played with Allen in Team GB and the likes of Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Stewart Downing for England. Add to that the fact that youngsters like Raheem Sterling, Martin Kelly and Jonjo Shelvey are coming through the ranks together and you have a very close squad that is pulling in the same direction. This is the kind of relationship all title contenders must have and it is one which isn’t as apparent at the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea at the moment.
Neil Roarty writes for Bettingpro.com, an award-winning football, news and betting website.