Three gameweeks has finished now and Liverpool is one of the clubs that has got a good start to the season. Liverpool did not hesitate to get the players that they wanted and they were quick in getting their transfers done. Brendan Rodgers ended last season with a lot of pressure on him and he had to make sure that he bought players that can strengthen the team. The good start to the season will have taken some pressure off Rodgers. Now Liverpool will have to take that momentum forward and aim for a top 4 finish. Let us look at 5 factors that will determine Liverpool’s season ahead:-
P.S:- The list is not made in any particular order.
Rodgers admitted during the pre-season that he did not know who was going to be Skrtel’s CB partner this season. Lovren and Sakho was fighting for that spot. If a decision was made on the basis of last season’s performances and form it was definitely Sakho who was going to be selected, but Rodgers gave Lovren plenty of playing time during the pre-season and he was selected as the first choice CB alongside Skrtel in Liverpool’s first game of the season against Stoke.
The arrival of Nathaniel Clyne was definitely a big boost for Liverpool and its defense. Everyone knew how good he was and how much of an upgrade he is on Liverpool’s former Right Back, Glen Johnson. Joe Gomez is the surprise man in the Liverpool defense. He was expected to be loaned out as soon as he joined Liverpool, but he took his opportunity during the pre-season and impressed Rodgers in the Left Back position, which is not his preferred position. And if we watch his game for Liverpool at the Left Back position, it might be difficult for us to believe that he is an 18 year old playing out of position. Mignolet has also improved a lot and he is a lot better than what he was 12 months ago. This Liverpool defense has impressed and has been solid in the first three games and they managed to get three clean sheets. Liverpool will want this defense to keep their performances high and be consistent. If the Defense is strong the opponents won’t score and if they don’t concede they are not losing.
Even though we did not see much of it in Liverpool’s first game against Stoke, we saw a lot of it in the next two games. Coutinho and Benteke are linking up together very well and within the next few matches they chemistry will be on top. This chemistry will make both of them score more goals. The only thing they are lacking now is the finishing. We saw Benteke missing an easy chance vs Bournemouth and also his shot was saved by Cech against Arsenal (he should have somehow scored that one). We also Coutinho hit the bar and post in the game against Arsenal. But that is not a big issue, they can work on it and if they can get their finishing right then both of them can score a lot of goals for Liverpool. Liverpool has only scored two goals so far this season and both of them are score by Coutinho and Benteke. Liverpool and its fans will be hoping to see more goals from The Magician and The Beast.
Firmino is Liverpool’s third most expensive transfer and expectations about him are high. The price tag and expectations will definitely put some pressure on him. And also adapting to the Premier League will also put pressure on him. Adapting to the high speed and rough style of Premier league may not be always easy, but Bundesliga is a similar league with high speed and fast moving games. So, Firmino may not find it difficult to adapt to Premier League, but he may take time. That is what matters. Liverpool have some difficult away games coming up and they will want Firmino to be set and ready.
Firmino showed glimpses of what he do in his first Liverpool start against Arsenal. It was clear from the beginning that Rodgers did not want Firmino to rush into the team, instead he gave him time to set. Firmino only got 63 minutes in his first start for Liverpool, but he might get more playing time when Liverpool play West Ham at home this Saturday. Liverpool will want Firmino to get set and ready as soon as possible because there are some important games coming up for them. The time taken by Firmino to adapt to the Premier League will be a key factor for Liverpool.
Liverpool’s season last year was going to be tough due to the departure of Luis Suarez, but Sturridge’s injury made it even tougher for Liverpool. Sturridge last season was ruined by injuries like thigh muscle strain, hamstring injury and hip injury. The first two injuries were fixed by Liverpool, but he got injured again soon. Liverpool understood that they needed to find a long-term solution for Sturridge’s injury problems and that is the reason why Liverpool send for surgery to America. Now his surgery is done and he has undergone some rehabilitation in America itself and now he is back in England to continue his recovery process.
People at Liverpool believe that they have found a long-term solution for Sturridge’s injury problems. They will want Sturridge to remain fit throughout the season or at least be free from big injuries. Liverpool hope that they can get Sturridge fit for the game against Manchester United after the International break (they will at least want him on the bench). If Sturridge remains free from big injuries this season more goals are going to come in Liverpool’s favour. He can also form a partnership with Benteke. Liverpool lacked a consistent striker last season which added to their problems. Now they will have two good strikers upfront.
Liverpool’s first 7 away matches are against Stoke (Liverpool won 1-0), Arsenal (0-0 Draw), Manchester United, Everton, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City. Their match against Manchester City is on 21st of November, that means their away games upto the end of November is tough and also crucial. They got 4 points of 6 in the first two away games. If they can get 10 points out of the 15 from the next five away games it will be a great boost for them. They will be confident to face those teams when they come to Anfield. If they perform well in these matches then top 4 is easily achievable, but getting 10 points from these 5 matches won’t be easy.
If the first four factors go in Liverpool’s way I think the fifth will also go in Liverpool’s way, hence making their top 4 finish achievable. In my opinion, Liverpool has done extremely well in the transfer market. They recognized their needs and got what they need. Now Rodgers just have to get his tactics right and result will follow.
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