As it stands, Liverpool are in 12th place in the English Premier League, with 22 points (five wins, seven draws and five losses) from 17 games and a tidy goal difference of 0. Which puts the Reds seven points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth place, and five behind Everton in fifth.
That’s the reality, and—surprise, surprise—it’s right in the middle between the post-Aston Villa critics and the post-West Ham plaudits.
Just as Liverpool are right in the middle of the league table. Just as they still are right in the middle of a fight to finish in the Top Six.
As the saying goes, Liverpool are in the midst of a transitional period, which makes 2013 a pivotal year in the recent history of the Reds.
Here are 10 bold predictions for Liverpool in 2013—and, as usual, have your say in the comments below.
The first event takes place in just a couple of weeks.
The January transfer window is already a “can’t wait” month for Brendan Rodgers to add to his threadbare and depleted squad.
Our latest transfer rumor roundup for Liverpool has the Reds linked with seven incoming players, and we will now predict that Rodgers will bring in three players to boost his squad in January.
Whether they will include the mooted early double-deal for Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince, however, only time will tell.
Fast forward to February, when Europa League action resumes, and we see Liverpool progressing past the Round of 32 and also past the Round of 16.
When the Europa League pool is narrowed down to eight teams, however, Liverpool will find that their squad and current ability hit a ceiling in Europe.
With strong teams still left in the competition and with the third-place Champions League teams parachuting in, the Europa League has plenty of firepower left to derail Liverpool’s challenge for a European trophy this season.
We don’t see a glory finish for the Reds on home soil, either.
The FA Cup, which saw an appearance in the final by Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool last season, will not feature the Reds at Wembley in May 2013.
Considering the emphasis that Rodgers will almost inevitably place on securing a strong finish to the league season and the relative inexperience of his young team, Liverpool’s FA Cup journey will also end at the quarterfinal stage.
Not that Rodgers’ emphasis on Premier League football will bring the European football that Reds fans enjoy to Anfield next season.
While our predicted three signings in the January transfer window will help the team, ultimately their proneness in making defensive mistakes, as in the opening up of the midfield and defence against both West Ham and Aston Villa, and their lack of finishing prowess will equally hurt the total points tally as Liverpool finish seventh.
The real rebuilding work, we hope, will be done in the summer, as signings will arrive at Anfield knowing that they will not be featuring on the European stage in 2013-2014.
The summer signings will also arrive at Anfield wanting to play with the star attraction, Luis Suarez.
While Suarez still can’t be considered a prolific goal scorer, especially when considering the skill and ability that he has on the ball, he will continue to be relied upon as Liverpool’s main threat up front, and will finish the season with 20 league goals.
It won’t be enough to win him the Golden Boot, but it might just win him strike partners to improve his team’s overall goal tally.
While we won’t speculate yet on the individual players who will arrive at Anfield next summer, we predict that four will sign for Liverpool.
With owner John Henry tightening the purse strings this past summer, and with the club completing a host of commercial deals and sponsorships, we wouldn’t be surprised if Rodgers finds himself with a little cash to spend, come July 2013.
He will have to operate knowing that the philosophy is to sign young and established stars, but he will be able to further mould the squad into his image.
Of the four players predicted to be coming in come summer, Nuri Sahin, currently on loan at Anfield from Real Madrid, will not be one of them.
Surprising perhaps to those fans and pundits who see Sahin as the midfield playmaker from his Bundesliga-winning Borussia Dortmund days, but not so much to observers of his current status as benchwarmer and sixth-choice midfielder behind Steven Gerrard, Lucas, Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey.
Other departures will include “non-Rodgers” players like Stewart Downing, Joe Cole, Andy Carroll and Jay Spearing to balance the wage budget.
With No. 9 (Andy Carroll) and No. 10 (Joe Cole) out the door, however, Rodgers has the chance to deliver a new Kop favorite in the summer of 2013.
And deliver he will, in the guise of an exciting young forward who will boost Suarez’s contributions up front and perhaps ease the slow transition of Steven Gerrard out of the first team.
He will form a dynamic frontline with Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez to lead the Reds, they hope, for years to come.
With the new signings and an encouraging finish to the 2012-2013 season, Liverpool fans will have plenty to look forward to in the new season.
Brendan Rodgers will have had a full year under his belt, with the team adopting more fully his passing philosophies, while he will also have enjoyed a second full preseason with his players fresh and without much international commitment over the summer.
It will be a real chance for Liverpool to make a statement in the opening weeks of the new season.
And Rodgers’ charges will respond by taking Liverpool to a Top-Five finish by the end of December 2013.
Which is a full year away, but we hope that, with the way things are going at Anfield, the results are going to come sooner or later.
What we know for sure is that a year from now, Liverpool fans will have raised their expectations accordingly and will rightly demand a vastly improved end to the calendar compared to the one they are facing now.
Brendan Rodgers will have a whole year to prove that he is the right man to lead Liverpool into a new era.
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