Without any doubt, last season was a bitterly disappointing campaign for Liverpool. This time last year, with King Kenny at the helm spending £150 million, fans were expecting their club to have a very successful season. They were expecting the King to bring back the glory days.
However the season turned out to be anything but successful. Most of Kenny’s multimillion pound signings turned out to be mega flops, which led to the club finishing a disappointing 8th, behind Everton on the table for the first time since 2005. The Suarez racism row was dealt with very poorly by Kenny and the club, and caused them to make headlines worldwide for all the wrong reasons. The only thing fans had to cheer about last season was the Carling Cup victory but even that was achieved an unconvincing fashion as they were taken to penalties by Championship club Cardiff. Even Liverpool fans can admit last season was a failure and the historic club was made to be a laughing stock at times, leading to the sacking of Kenny Dalglish at the end.
But the entire blame for the poor season should not be put on Dalglish as sometimes the team was just unlucky. Liverpool hit the woodwork 29 times in just the Premier League, more times than any other club. Andy Carroll’s FA Cup Final equaliser was controversially cleared off the line, which could have changed the outlook of the season. Maybe it just wasn’t to be for the great King Kenny? Maybe it is meant to be for someone else to bring the club back to its long awaited glory days? Maybe Brendan Rodgers?
Brendan Rodgers’ appointment divides opinions. Some think his new brand of passing football can be a real success at Anfield but many still doubt him as he and his system is vastly inexperienced in the Premier League, as he was appointed after just one successful season at Swansea. Only time will tell us whether he was the right appointment or not.
Rodgers faces a tough task this season as he has to apply the ‘Tika Taka’ at Liverpool before the start of this season where he would be expected to at least challenge for the top six. The Reds are also in the Europa League this season, after an absence from the European stage last year, however I don’t think there will be too much pressure to do well in this as the league is the priority. The question is will he be able get his system in place before the start of the new campaign?
To be able to successfully operate the ‘Tika Taka’ at Liverpool, Rodgers needs to bring in new players who are familiar to the system.
- Fabio Borini: The young Italian has worked with Rodgers in two previous occasions: at Chelsea reserves and at Swansea. Borini is bought as goal poacher and he is sometimes referred to as ‘the new Inzaghi’. He is used to the Brendan Rodgers style of play and is versatile as he can play in the middle or in the wings.
- Joe Allen: Like Borini, Allen has also worked with Rodgers in the past and is bought to help the club with the transition to ‘Tika Taka’ football. The young Welshman has a very good footballing brain, and is known for his ability to do the simple thing very well. Such as playing a simple pass or breaking down the oppositions attack and linking up defense to attack.
Another player who is as big a new signing is the returning Lucas Leiva, who was dearly missed and is arguably one of the best defensive midfielders in the league. Once he picked up his injury last season Liverpool just went downhill, proving how vital he was to the club. The Reds also have a number of youngsters ready to make the step up into the first team like Raheem Stirling and Jonjo Shelvey.
The season ahead
Judging by the game against Gomel, Rodgers is going to use the 4-3-3 formation, as predicted, and his preferred starting XI is likely to be… Reina – Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique – Lucas, Allen, Gerrard – Downing, Suarez, Borini.
The main question behind the success of Liverpool Football Club next season is how long will it take for the Brendan Rodgers’ vision to take place at Anfield. Mastering the ‘Tiki Taka’ can take a very long time and Liverpool fans just have to be patient for now. The sooner the better because if/when it works, LFC will no doubt be a major force in Europe again.
My only concern with Brendan Rodgers is his inexperience in the Premier League. He has been given the job after just one successful season at Swansea. What happens if, like last season, lucky isn’t on Liverpool side at all? What happens if Liverpool has a string of poor results and the pressure from the board, media and fans gets to him? What tricks does he have up his sleeve if things go wrong? There are many things Rodgers hasn’t faced before, which come when managing a big club in a highly competitive league like the Premier League. How Rodgers and his players deal with these situation will shape the club’s season.
Liverpool fans shouldn’t expect too much from their club this season as this a long term project; they should respect and understand this.
Season Prediction: 6th