After a hugely successful Premier League campaign last season, Liverpool finished second behind Manchester City to seal an automatic spot in the Champions League.
Four years out of one of the biggest football competitions in the world, Liverpool are set to return to the Champions League. Only Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Lucas Leiva are still in the squad that finished third when Liverpool were last in the tournament. However can the Reds perform like last season on the biggest stages of them all?
Since the long wait to return to the Champions League both Inter and AC Milan have dropped out of Europe's top teams, Paris Saint-Germain has become one of the richest clubs in the world and still no club has retained the Champions League trophy.
The four years away from Champions league football has caused Liverpool to fall down to Pot 3. This means that the get passed the group stage Liverpool will have to play against one of Europe's best teams. The clubs waiting for Liverpool in Pot 1 are the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain will also be waiting for Liverpool in Pot 2. These possible opponents for Liverpool will prove a tough task to advance in the competition. Manchester City will also have to face off against an opponent from Pot 1 after being seeded to Pot 2.
Coping With Europe's Superstars
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andrea Pirlo are some of the possible footballers that could play against The Reds. Undoubtedly Liverpool lit up the Premier League last season with their quick passing, fluent play and brilliant link up. They were one goal short of matching Manchester City's Premier League total but conceded 13 goals more than the champions. Liverpool finished the season with the the leagues top scorer and showed scoring goals was the area that didn't need improvement on.
However with the departure of Luis Suarez they will need a world class replacement. To compete against the elite teams they need to improve amongst their defence.
Liverpool won't get as many chances and get away with missed opportunities from the opponents when participating in the Champions League. It is clear to see that Liverpool need to improve on areas, particular on defence. The money from Suarez's sale will need to be used wisely unlike how Tottenham Hotspur spent the money from the sale of Gareth Bale.
Fielding unexperienced players like Jon Flanagan could be a worry for fans. This could result in more players being brought in for the congested schedule, experience and quality. Liverpool won't take any liabilities when playing against the best and players like Ronaldo, Alonso and Mascherano know not to take them for granted.
Dealing With the Best
The only team that did the double over Liverpool last season was Chelsea. Apart from this Liverpool did exceptionally against Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal. Especially at home they blew teams away with very fast pace and attacking football. If Liverpool can continue to play in the same manner then against the big teams then they will succeed but this will be difficult without the influential Luis Suarez.