Football

Liverpool poised for breakout season

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Despite the preseason purring of Brendan Rodgers on his side's merits, Liverpool's season looked like featuring a push for the top four, with a possible cup run, with the Reds seemingly lacking the quality to compete for much more.

However, three wins from three before the international break, including the impressive defeat of Manchester United, have forced critics into rethinking their early predictions.  

The quiet optimism of the Liverpool fans has become far more vocal, with a title push being touted for the campaign ahead.  But has Brendan Rodgers got the quality at his disposal to compete for major honours so early into his "long term" tenure?

 Liverpool's success this season can largely be attributed to Daniel Sturridge, with the former Chelsea striker scoring the winning goal in each of Liverpool's three 1-0 wins this season against Stoke, Aston Villa and Manchester United.

However, the hugely impressive goalkeeping displays of Simon Mignolet, plus the combined efforts of Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel at the back, have laid the foundations for Sturridge to claim the headlines with consecutive league clean sheets.  Critics are already describing Liverpool's defensive unit as the best in the Premier League, particularly following the deadline day acquisitions of Tiago Ilori and Mamadou Sakho.  

Indeed, this aspect of the team looks formidable, making Rodgers' decision to replace the highly paid, ageing Pepe Reina with the younger Mignolet seemingly a stroke of genius.  

With plenty of cover for the injured Aly Cissokho and Kolo Toure, the prospect of facing Liverpool is looking increasingly daunting for strikers, particularly after the way previously out-of-favour Martin Skrtel shut out Robin van Persie, and a title push built on a meager defence looks likely given the options at Rodgers' disposal.

Further up the pitch, the Sturridge-Coutinho partnership is looking equally promising for Liverpool. The link-up play on display between the two has been nothing short of incredible at times, with the likes of Iago Aspas, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard benefitting from the space created by the pair's clever play.

One thing that has been missing so far, however, is a strong, direct and fast winger to complement Philippe Coutinho's creativity; so look no further than Victor Moses, the deadline day signing on loan from Chelsea.  

The filling of this gap in the side looks to be a crucial part of the Reds' hopes this season.

Another factor that will give Liverpool fans hope is the imminent return of Luis Suarez. The prospect of putting one of the league's best players into the best team in the league so far will surely be a cause for fresh optimism.  

However, there is also concern over the effect his return will have on the side. In his absence, Liverpool's passing football has been blindingly obvious, with the side's team ethic embedded into the DNA of the team.  

Whether the return of Suarez will intimidate some of the younger players in the side such as Sterling is debatable.  What is quite likely is that with a superstar back in the ranks, the likes of Coutinho will look for Suarez when on the ball, rather than look for a gap in the opposing defence, and expect the Uruguayan to create from nothing.  

His value to the team cannot be underestimated, however, and it is possible an upturn in fortunes will meet his return to the action.

 One cause for concern is the lack of options on the bench for Rodgers' side. Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Jordon Ibe look like potential world-beaters; however, are they ready to change a game at this moment in time?

Perhaps these lack of options up front and in midfield could haunt Liverpool this season, and prevent them from mounting a title push.  

However, one thing looks certain; the Anfield side will certainly look to push on and improve on last season's seventh place finish under the watchful eye of Brendan Rodgers.  

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Topics:
Liverpool
Daniel Sturridge
Football
Luis Suarez
Philippe Coutinho

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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