Liverpool - a season preview

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The 2012/13 Premier League season was another very disappointing campaign for Liverpool.

A 7th place finish and no European football for the upcoming season, Brendan Rodgers’ side are hitting somewhat of a decline with them looking like a mere shadow of the constant Champions League qualifying Liverpool teams of the past decade.

However, the Anfield side did start playing more attractive football towards the end of last season and they have made some impressive summer signings which could give them a much needed boost towards that much needed top 4 position.

However, with the future of star striker Luis Suarez still in doubt, Liverpool could actually get weaker next season and with other teams making some impressive signings, Liverpool will need to be wary of these sides or they could end up having an even worse season than the previous one.

Liverpool have been missing from Champions League football for some time now. They haven’t finished in the top four since the 2008/09 season and their best league finish since then has been 6th. The most likely reason for this is the departures of key players such as Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso and them being replaced by players with nowhere near the same impact as them (with the exception of Suarez).

Last season was another bitterly disappointing campaign for Brendan Rodgers and his team but the Northern Irishman made some impressive signings in the January transfer market and from then up until the end of the season Liverpool started to look much more organised and they started to play some very enticing football.

Liverpool have also been fairly busy this summer bringing in four players and offloading a large number. Kolo Toure has joined on a free transfer from Manchester City and you’d imagine he will be a straight up replacement for the retired Jamie Carragher.

He will most likely start on the bench for most games but he will provide great leadership and experience when called upon.  Simon Mignolet has also been brought in and he will for sure replace Pepe Reina as the Reds’ number one with the Spaniard loaned out to Napoli. Mignolet impressed greatly for Sunderland last season and will be a good fit at Anfield.

The final two players Rodgers has brought in are from La Liga. Iago Aspas has joined from Celta Vigo and will provide Liverpool with another striking option besides Suarez and Sturridge.

Aspas has impressed so far scoring two goals in as many friendly matches for the club. The fourth player Liverpool have acquired is 21-year-old midfielder Luis Alberto from Sevilla.

We might not see him feature an awful lot in his first season but he could become a regular in the years to come. Liverpool have done some solid business in the transfer window and they may not be finished but the players they have brought in will help them push for a top four finish.

Liverpool do have a reasonably good chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season as their main rivals for those positions haven’t done too much transfer business. Arsenal, Spurs and Everton have been fairly quiet this summer and if it stays that way Liverpool will have a really good chance for a top four spot.

It is very important that Liverpool don’t let other teams distract them from moving forward this season. They must keep most of their focus on the teams above them and challenging these teams should be made their main priority.

However, they must keep a close eye on teams below them as some of them are making headlines in this transfer window with some notable signings. Last season Liverpool finished 7th and a fairly lengthy 12 points ahead of their nearest challengers West Brom.

This season it is expected to be much closer. Also, if Liverpool fail to keep Luis Suarez they could really weaken as a team next season and find themselves in a battle just to finish in the top ten. Teams such as Swansea, Southampton, Sunderland and Norwich have really impressed so far this summer.  

Swansea have brought in new faces such as record signing Wlifried Bony, Jose Canas, Jordi Amat and former Red Jonjo Shelvey and the Swans will surely improve on their finish of 9th last season. Sothampton have also impressed spending over £20 million on two players.  Defender Dejan Lovren has been brought in from Lyon and Victor Wanyama from Celtic.

These players will really boost the Saints and if they can reduce the number of goals they concede they will be in with a chance of a top half finish. And the two teams who have really impressed me this summer are Norwich and Sunderland.

Both clubs have made some fantastic buys and they will surely be targeting a top ten finish. Norwich have brought in three big signings so far along with a few other solid buys. Leroy Fer, who I feel is the signing of the summer so far, has been added to the squad and will provide a huge boost for the team all over the pitch.

The Dutch midfielder can impact on both attack and defence could prove a real coup for the Canaries. Theyve also acquired strikers Gary Hooper from Celtic and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon who will give the team some firepower up front, a department they really struggled in last season, scoring just 41 league goals.

Nathan Redmond and Martin Olsson have also been purchased and the pair will provide a good deal of width for Chris Hughton’s side.  

Sunderland, who also managed just 41 league goals last season, have added striker Jozy Altidore to their ranks. The American striker impressed at Dutch side AZ last season and the Black Cats will be hoping he can replicate that this season.

They've also brought in Italian playmaker Emanuele Giaccherini from Juventus and he will provide some spark and creativity going forward. Paulo Di Canio has also added a host of other players to bolster his squad for the upcoming season as Sunderland look to improve on their 17th placed finish from last season.

It is important that Liverpool don’t give too much of their attention to these teams and stay focussed on the teams above them or it could result in a real scrap with other teams just for the mid-table positions.

For many Liverpool fans this is the season they feel they can really kick on and push for a top four finish. They’ve made solid summer signings and they are beginning to play that sublime football they’re so well known for.

They also hope this can reignite that club spirit which has been lost for almost five years now and turn Anfield back in to the stadium it’s so famous for – the unforgettable Champions League nights which have produced so many memorable games in the past.

They will be undoubtedly keeping an eye on the teams behind them but if they stick to focussing on their own game and chasing down the teams above them then they should have an excellent chance of providing their loyal fans with Champions League football next season.

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