End of Season Report: Liverpool

22May 2013

England - Premier League


The top four never looked plausible but foundations were laid...


Season Summary - 7th


At first glance, finishing below their city rivals Everton and being denied European football for the second time in three seasons suggests another poor season by once illustrious standards.


However, with a new man controlling the pedals in Brendan Rodgers, a transitional period has ended with more cause for optimism at Anfield than in the preceding few years.

Liverpool undoubtedly lost far too much ground in a spiky start under the Northern Irishman, who not only instigated a new formation but also placed considerable faith in youth, throwing several teenagers into first team action.


Sat a disappointing tenth after Boxing Day and relying far too heavily on the goals of Luis Suarez, Rodgers was quick to act in the January transfer market, bringing in Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho and the replenishing effects were obvious. To Rodgers credit, his acquisitions took no time to settle and, coinciding with a recall to the starting line-up for Anfield stalwart Jamie Carragher, new-look Liverpool began yielding far more points in 2013.


Cup competitions proved frustrating. A draining Europa League campaign ended in the round-of-32 against Zenit, their defence of the Capital One Cup witnessed a submissive exit to Swansea and FA Cup embarrassment was delivered by Oldham.



Talking Points


Liverpool's strikers were to prove the principal fillers of back page space throughout the season. One of Rodgers' first decisions proved his most contentious when he opted to let £35 million man Andy Carroll go on loan to West Ham with only one other senior centre forward on the books in Suarez.


For two-thirds of the season, that man Suarez simply lit up virtually every match he played in, mixing sublime skill with a seemingly newfound ability to ripple the net at will. Topping even the prolific Robin van Persie with 23 Premier League goals to his name heading into the last five games, his genius then turned to utter madness when he inexplicably bit Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic. A ten-game ban was to follow for the enormously controversial Uruguayan.



Plus and Minus Points


Rodgers' refreshing approach to blooding youngsters has seen a few genuine first-team prospects emerge in the form of teenage talents Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso. In the same vein, the additions of Sturridge and Coutinho are two of the more exciting signings Liverpool have made in recent times. At just 20-years-old, Coutinho's vision is outstanding and in Sturridge, only 23, Liverpool have a player who has already reached double figures in the Premier League quicker than anyone else to pull on the jersey.


It goes without saying Suarez's disgraceful behaviour proved the low point in the season and, although he has mooted a commitment to the club despite his ban, it remains to be seen whether or not he'll stay at Anfield.


Results wise, though things picked up considerably in the latter stages, there were far too many poor results against teams near the bottom. Heavy 3-1 losses on the road to Southampton and Stoke were particularly galling for Reds fans as was the failure to pick up more than a solitary win against the top six. West Brom doing the league double over them will have to be improved upon next season.



What Next?


Without the 'distraction' of European competition, Liverpool's sole target has to be muscling in on the top four in 2013/14. It's by no means a divine right for the Merseysiders, but the Champions League is where they need to be and, with managerial changes afoot at the top three, Liverpool must have designs on gatecrashing the party.


Clearly the striker situation needs addressing. If Suarez and Carroll are to leave Anfield, Liverpool must ensure they receive top dollar and simultaneously spend big on any replacements. Suarez can be backed to leave Liverpool @ 3.7.



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Keywords: End of Season, Liverpool

Source: Betfair

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