Sports Mole looks ahead to what the new Premier League season could have in store for Liverpool.
With the new Premier League campaign due to get underway this coming weekend, Sports Mole casts its eye over Liverpool's summer so far and their prospects for the 2013-14 campaign.
Luis Alberto (Sevilla, Undisclosed), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo, £7m), Simon Mignolet (Sunderland, £9m), Kolo Toure (Free)
Andy Carroll (West Ham United, £15m), Peter Gulasci (Red Bull Salzburg, Free), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City, £5m), Danny Wilson (Hearts, Free), Tyrell Belford (Released), Jamie Stephens (Released), Jamie Carragher (Retired), Michael Ngoo (Yeovil Town, Loan), Suso (Almeria, Loan), Conor Coady (Sheffield United, Loan), Pepe Reina (Napoli, Loan), Jack Robinson (Blackpool, Loan), Jay Spearing (Bolton Wanderers, Undisclosed)
Last Season: Seventh
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Three key players:
© PA Photos
Steven Gerrard -
He may have turned 33 in May, but Gerrard is still a vital cog in the Liverpool machine. The skipper showed his battling qualities last term when despite suffering with a shoulder problem, he was still able to feature on 36 occasions in the Premier League, scoring nine times. The talk is that he could be deployed in a more deeper role over the coming months, to save his legs more than anything else. It's a role that the England international should be able to take in his stride, particularly when you consider the range of passing that he possesses.
© AP Photos
Philippe Coutinho -
One of the major reasons as to why Rodgers may have given consideration to altering Gerrard's position is the presence of Countinho. Costing just £8.5m from Inter Milan in January, there won't have been many better value for money signings in recent times. He made just 13 appearances for the Reds last season, but still scored three goals and made seven assists. The 21-year-old likes to play between the lines, rather than being restricted to one position. Having said that, if the situation requires him to, the Brazilian is capable of turning out on the left wing.
© Getty Images
Daniel Sturridge -
As it stands, Luis Suarez
's toys have been thrown out of the pram and are scattered all over the floor. Like a stubborn parent though, Liverpool have told him that he is going nowhere, despite his protests. Even if the Uruguayan does stay at Anfield, is his heart going to really be in it? Seems doubtful. It means that a lot of the goalscoring burden will passed on to Sturridge, who like Coutinho, signed for Liverpool in the winter. He also impressed, scoring 11 goals from 16 outings in all competitions. In the past his ability to produce the goods on a consistent basis has been called into question, but with him potentially becoming the club's number one striker, the 23-year-old will need to step up to the plate.
First game: Stoke City (H), Complete fixture list
Sports Mole says: While the first six months of Rodgers's tenure were nothing to write home about, his side showed signs towards the end of the season that his philosophy had been taken on board. The arrivals of Coutinho and Sturridge aided that and the manager will be hoping that his new signings this summer hit the ground running as well. Like it or not though, Liverpool's campaign hinges on Suarez - after all, the number seven scored 23 goals last time out. If he does go, he will need replacing, while if he is still at Anfield come September, Rodgers must find a way to integrate him back into the team. With a mentally stable Suarez, the Reds have an outside chance of qualifying for the Champions League. Without him, they look likely to fall short again.
Predicted finish: Sixth