Liverpool should secure another top-four finish in the Premier League

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With the new season drawing ever closer for Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers must be hoping that the Reds can replicate the form they produced in the second half of last season which saw them fall agonisingly short of their first Premier League title.

Some critics have suggested that Liverpool will struggle to even make the top four, yet alone sustain another title challenge. Many point to the big money sale of top scorer Luis Suarez to Barcelona as one reason why Liverpool cannot replicate their wonderful 2013/14 season.

Others argue that Liverpool's participation in the Champions League this season will have an impact on their form as they no longer have an entire week to prepare for each league game, like they did last season.

Can they challenge?

But can the Reds challenge again? With Liverpool's summer spending hitting the £100 million mark, Rodgers has acted to fix the flaws which were prominent in the side last season.

Liverpool's ability to score at will last year was staggering, with the club racking up an astonishing 101 goals in the league. Normally a total this large would secure the title, however Liverpool conceded 50 at the other end, a number which is far too high for a team challenging at the top.

Throughout the season, Liverpool won games 6-3, 5-3, 4-3 with the mentality of outscoring opponents. This resulted in Liverpool's backline being exposed far too often, especially at Selhurst Park, where Liverpool let a three goal lead slip in the last 12 minutes of the match.

Defensive improvement

Rodgers has realised that his defence needed strengthening. The acquisitions of centre-back Dejan Lovren and full-backs Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno will strengthen a Liverpool back four which looked shaky on occasion last season.

Lovren will provide a sense of leadership at the heart of the defence that has been missing since club legend Jamie Carragher retired. Lovren will instil discipline in the backline and bring a crucial organisation which was not prominent last season - as demonstrated by Glen Johnson's willingness to bomb forward but only leisurely jog back.

The signing of Sevilla's Moreno for a reported £12 million is the most important signing for the Reds. Left-back has always been a problem position for Liverpool, with players such as Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena failing to make the position their own.

At 22, Moreno has youth on his side and the quality to hold down a starting spot for ten years or more. Manquillo will provide competition at right-back for Jon Flanagan and Johnson, who failed to impress last season.

Emre Can has also arrived as an anchor for the defence and could replace Steven Gerrard when he hangs up his boots, allowing the ever impressive Jordan Henderson to push further forward.

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Suarez replacement

With the defence improving, the void left by Luis Suarez is undoubtedly a huge one to fill, but instead of signing one huge name, Rodgers has decided to invest in four attacking players who can all contribute goals to the team. Rickie Lambert, Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana and Divock Origi (the latter won't join up with the squad until next summer) can all make up for the 30 goals scored by Suarez last season.

Overall, with all the new signings, Liverpool should secure a top-four place this season, but a title challenge may be a step to far due to Champions League commitments.

Liverpool will score less goals, but the improved defence will result in fewer conceded, therefore Liverpool will not need to score five or six to win a game. A top-four finish would be a good place to consolidate from.

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