Reasons Liverpool Can't Win the EPL
I have absolutely nothing against Liverpool, really. And truth be told, the Anfield giants were one of the most exciting clubs in Europe last season.
They shocked quite a few of us when they emerged as the only tangible threat to Manchester City's title bid. These got most Liverpudians believing that this season might just spell the end of their over two decade wait.
In all honesty, however, that may be a dream dragged too far. The EPL title is not closer to the Reds than it was last term and these are the reasons why...
1. They Sold Suarez
May be they had little choice. May be the huge transfer fee was tempting. May be Suarez actually pushed for the transfer. Too many maybes.
But the one lesson we’ve come to learn over time about the English Premier League is this: if you want to win the title, don’t sell your best players.
1991 champions, Leeds United sold Eric Cantona to Manchester United and they’ve never won the league ever since. Man United sold Ronaldo to Real Madrid and went the following season trophyless. It has happened before and it will happen again.
It’s a pity really because Liverpool were just a win away from winning the Premier League last term. It will be a disaster if they fail to even secure a champions league spot this time around.
Suarez scored more than thirty premier league goals alone for Liverpool last term. Now, you can’t just snap your fingers and buy that amount of goals off the market, except you’re signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
Without Suarez’s goals, Liverpool will find it hard to get enough wins that will translate to league victory.
2. No Marquee Signing
The formula is simple: when you sell world class, you buy world class to replace it.
Suarez guarantees goals and there are a only few other strikers in Europe who can be mentioned in the same breathe. Edinson Cavani, Mario Balloteli, Columbia’s Martinez, and the selected bunch of the planet’s top marksmen.
Rodgers, though, went for 20-year old Markovic, Belgian Origi and the aging Rickie Lambert to take some of the goal-scoring weights off Daniel Sturridge.
With all due respect to the new signings, they are not premier league winning quality just yet. Clearly, the innate potential in Liverpool’s strike force is unmistakeable but 2014-15 season may just come too early for them.
3. Defence is still shit
Mignolet is still susceptible to momentary lapses in concentration, a sharp reminder of the Pepe Reina days. Liverpool may not need a new goalie but they certainly need their No1 shot stopper to raise his game.
There won’t be much cause for alarm if he was the only one in Liverpool’s defence who requires an upgrade. But Skrtel can be super-class this weekend and shit-class the next. His centre-back partner, Mamadou Sakho can actually be the next Sol Campbell: fast, strong in the tackle, solid in defence.
However, to get to that level, Sakho has to improve his rash decision making and poor positional awareness. Noticeable demons that are still keeping his game at mediocre level.
And there’s Daniel Agger who would have been great by now if not for his ever nagging injuries.
Kolo Toure is got enough experience to act as worthy cover but it’s a doubt how far his aging knees can keep him up in a long, demanding, league-title-chasing season.
Dejan Lovren was particularly impressive for Southampton last season. Rodgers will hope Lovren is the man who helps his defence hold the ragged pieces together. But that could be too tough to ask of a newcomer.
4. Demand Of Champions League Football
Anfield has missed champions league football and no stand can be as delighted for its return as the Kop.
With champions league football, though, comes more midweek matches and exhausting European travels. The relative small size of the Liverpool squad and the quality of the reserves betray the readiness of the Reds for this season’s champions league challenge.
The core of Lovren, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sturridge and Sterling cannot be expected to start every game in the league and in Europe. Whether the likes of Kolo Toure, Lallana, Lambert, and Markovic can step up to the mark when called upon, is still left to be seen. And it may determine how far the Anfield giants can go this term.
5. Is Rodgers Up For It?
A couple of factors were responsible for Liverpool’s surprising title tilt last season. An in-form Suarez and Sturridge, a Sterling-driven fast pace attack and a rejuvenated quarter-backer in Steven Gerrard.
Another that has not really been under the spotlight is the impact of manager Brendan Rodgers. The Rodgers’ effect. He got Liverpool playing a brand of pacey, attacking football that brought the league’s big guns to their knees at Anfield.
Two games to the season finale, the league was still Liverpool’s to lose. But under pressure, Rodgers team buckled and he just couldn’t drag them over the line.
The pressure this season is cranked up double. Chelsea are the leading favourite to wrestle the title from Manchester City grasp. They’ve signed well and wisely replaced tiring legs with fresh bloods.
Arsenal have spent big again for the second season in a row, this time on Chilean star, Alexis Sanchez. And you have a feeling that if they don’t win the title, fans will start asking Arsene Wenger big questions.
Manchester City are even stronger. And you can bet that Manchester United will be right in the deep end of things this time around.
The Premier League title will be tougher to win for anyone this season, and even more so for Liverpool.
Rodgers is a good manager, no doubt. But it will be difficult for him, or anybody else for that matter, to lead this current bunch of Liverpool players to the Premier League title. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal are much stronger and have better quality in depth.
Anfield faithfuls should consider it a good season, if Liverpool can make it to the knockout phases of the UEFA Champions League and just snatch fourth place from the jaws of Manchester United on the final day of the season.
But the Premier League title? They are two full seasons short of making that kind of statement. Case closed.