Article by Imraan Adam @imadam786
The month of August is always exciting for any football fan and as we approach the start of the new season it’s the same for every Liverpool supporter. However this season there seems to be more of a buzz around Anfield as for the first time in a long time Liverpool are going into a new campaign with a genuine chance of at least challenging for the Premier League title. With all that said the question on everyone’s lips is how far are Liverpool from actually lifting the title for the first time in 29 years?
I think every Liverpool fan can agree that this summer has been groundbreaking in the way we have contacted our business and when the Reds made the signing of Alisson two weeks ago we sent a clear message to the world, “we are back at the big boys table.” Personally for me signing Alisson indicated a massive shift in power towards Merseyside, year upon year Liverpool fans have had to watch in agony as main transfer targets have slipped through our fingers, instead choosing to go to Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City or even one of the big boys in Europe.
Liverpool have always had to play second fiddle in terms of signing and often if we wanted a big signing we had to try and rush the deal before any other club showed interest, Alisson signalled a change in that pattern, we know that both Chelsea and Real Madrid were interested in the Brazilian number one’s services. However despite interest from other clubs who are supposed to be “bigger” than us he decided to come to Liverpool, a decision that sent shockwaves all over Europe.
We saw a little bit of a shift of power happening last summer with van Dijk, again both Chelsea and Manchester City were interested in the Dutchman services but van Dijk had no intention of going anywhere but to Liverpool and the fact that this has happened again with one of the best goalkeepers in the world has reaffirmed our position as being back at the elite table of world football.
Much of Liverpool’s success this season is going to depend on how the new signing are able to settle in, and from what we’ve seen already in pre-season this shouldn’t be an issue. Naby Keita already looks like he’s going to hit the ground running, his physicality and determination in the centre of the park is what Liverpool have been lacking ever since Steven Gerrard was moved back into a more holding position, and indeed since Gerrard left the club we haven’t had anyone in midfield who is willing to put their foot in and enjoy good hard tackle. Keita already looks like he’s going to be that kind of player, the engine if you like in the centre of the pitch drive in the team forward and with the addition of Fabinho our midfield is looking mouth-watering going into the new season.
I think one of the key things about the season is that Liverpool got two new signings without having to buy players in, both Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge missed large portions of the last campaign for various reasons. Before pre-season I was looking at our midfield and struggling to think how Lallana will be able to fit back into it, since pre-season has started he looks like a completely new player, the boy looks fresh, eager and ready to go and if he can put his injury problems behind him it’s looking like he can have a masses affect on Liverpool this campaign.
Sturridge is another one that is looking fresh and eager this pre-season, I know that this is the case every pre-season but given that this will probably be his last campaign as a Liverpool player and probably in England I can really see Sturridge knuckling down and trying to get on with it this season. I actually do think that there is a place for Sturridge in the Liverpool team this campaign, fans have to except that we’re not going to get the same Sturridge from 2013/14, that Sturridge is long gone.
However, where I do think Sturridge can play a part is off the bench especially in the last 20 minutes of the game where we are desperate for a goal. We know Sturridge’s body cannot do a 38 game season without breaking down more than once, however if he were to be used as a super sub he’ll have more of an impact because he won’t need to play within himself for the whole match.
For those of you who watch Formula One it’s a bit like in the last 10 laps of a race when the drivers are told to turn the engine up to maximum power because there is not long left in the race and they don’t need to manage their engines, in the same way if we were to bring on Sturridge for the last 10 or 20 minutes of a match he can play that last period at full power and not have to worry about managing his body, that’s how you get the best out of him and that’s how I think he will fit in this Liverpool team.
I said at the end of last season that I thought Liverpool needed at least four more signings in the summer in specific key areas, a new goalkeeper, a new holding midfielder, a new attacking midfielder and someone who could play in the front three positions. We’ve got three out of four signings which for a summer window I think is pretty good business.
People need to be realistic and realise that you’re not always going to get all your targets in one window and honestly three out of four targets is pretty good going. However I am a little concerned about the attacking midfield position as I just worry if we’ve got enough depth in the position to handle any major injuries.
We would assume that Adam Lallana would play that role for majority of the season, and if his injury problems are behind him that’s great, however the problem comes if he does have a serious injury especially as we don’t really have anyone else that can link the midfield and the forwards. We know that Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for the majority of the season and we don’t even know if he will play at all this campaign so if Lallana does get injured this will be my only concern with the squad moving forwards.
All in all I’m really excited going into the new season and I haven’t felt this way about a season since I was little kid, The buzz and excitement surrounding Liverpool Football Club at the minute is unreal and I really do think this is our time to shine. Of course with big signings comes big expectations and pressure but I think we have the right manager in Klopp to deal with that pressure and I honestly do think this season we could mount the title challenge, which will be amazing . The club is moving in the right direction and I would advise fans to scrap themselves in because this season promises to be a very exciting ride.
Article by Imraan Adam @imadam786