Liverpool will finish above Arsenal in the Premier League next season, despite the sale of Luis Suarez and the signing of Alexis Sanchez. That is according to former Liverpool striker and television pundit Michael Owen.
Owen, who also played for Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United, praised the work of Arsene Wenger for landing Sanchez from Barcelona this month, but predicted it would not stop them from falling out of the top four.
“The signing of Sanchez has made everyone sit up and take note. I really do rate him, he’s a top player and it’s a big step in the right direction for Arsenal,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Star.
“But, in no particular order, my top four will be Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Liverpool. One or two more signings and it could be a really good season for Liverpool.”
Many are predicting this season will be far more difficult for Brendan Rodgers and his squad after an unexpected title challenge saw them finish second in the Premier League last term.
While Luis Suarez’s sensational record of 31 goals in 33 games and the emergence of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge as two of England’s leading attackers, there were numerous commentators claiming that only having to concentrate on the Premier League was a huge advantage.
Champions League toll
Liverpool were knocked out of both domestic cups quite early on – Arsenal defeated them in the FA Cup, which they went on to win – and is has been posited that the massive increase in fixtures and subsequent workload on players from Champions League qualification will take its toll.
Meanwhile, Arsenal spent more time than any other team at the summit of the Premier League last season, but their own unexpected title challenge faltered familiarly late in the season.
Same place, different feeling
Arsene Wenger’s side finished fourth again, but there was a different feeling towards that familiar finish this time for a number of reasons. Firstly, winning their first trophy in nine seasons thanks to an extra-time Aaron Ramsey goal against Hull City at Wembley has lifted morale at the club and amongst its fans.
Then there was the fact they finished just seven points behind champions Manchester City – not a huge margin over a 38-game season. Added to this is the sense that major signings in the forms of Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez are an indicator that the club is now fully able to get back among the biggest clubs in Europe on financial terms, as well as on the pitch.