Liverpool currently sit top of the Premier League and are unbeaten having not conceded a goal in any of their three league matches so far, but they will still struggle to make it into the top four this season.
As much as Liverpool supporters would like to believe it, they cannot be considered serious title contenders this season along with Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. Instead, they must look towards trying to secure 4th place and a lucrative Champions League place for next season by battling it out with Arsenal and Tottenham.
However, they face a fight for the coveted last place at Europe's top table and I think they will miss out, for these five reasons:
Generally weak in centre midfield
Steven Gerrard apart, Liverpool look very average in the middle of the park and despite the obvious class of their talisman, he cannot keep producing the goods every week at the age of 33.
His deputies in midfield include Joe Allen, Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson. While Leiva is a decent player in his own right and Henderson is improving, these three lack the class to sustain a top-four challenge for a whole season without their skipper's leadership.
Suarez situation could rear it's head
One of the stories of the summer was Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez's desperation to leave the club and ply his trade for a team in the Champions League, with Arsenal heavily linked.
And although Suarez now insists he is happy at Liverpool, his desire for Champions League football will not have diminished overnight and a club could come calling in January, causing more disruption to Liverpool's season and depriving them of a world class player.
New signings will take time to adjust
Brendan Rodgers made eight signings during the summer transfer window, five of which who have never experienced the Premier League and no matter how good these players could supposedly be, they will take time to adapt as all new arrivals do at first.
However, as all of these players were signed to make an instant impact in the first-team, they will be thrown in at the deep end and some could be caught out. Only Kolo Toure, Simon Mignolet and Victor Moses have extensive experience of this league and they will need to utilise all of their nous to aid the Reds in their Champions League chase.
Lack of creativity
Philippe Coutinho is a very classy player and when he takes to the field, Liverpool look extremely dangerous going forward. But what happens if the young Brazilian picks up an injury?
Liverpool's proven options playing in that central attacking midfield position are very limited and while Luis Suarez could potentially play there, is Brendan Rodgers going to risk playing an already unhappy striker out of position?
Strength of competition
Liverpool's squad is probably better than it has been since Rafael Benitez left, but the competition for a place in the Champions League has gotten ever stronger as well.
While Tottenham continue to strengthen each year and have spent a well-documented £100m on players this summer, Arsenal have signed a world class attacking talent in Mesut Ozil, the likes of which Liverpool do not have with the exception of Suarez.
Liverpool have also spent four seasons not being in the mix for a Champions League spot at all, while both North London clubs have consistently challenged in each of those years, giving them vital experience in that department.
Brendan Rodgers' side are stronger than they have been in almost four years, but they still need another year of strengthening and experience in order to sustain a challenge at the top end of the table.
Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below.
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