If looks could kill: Despite Suarez arriving in Melbourne for Liverpool's preseason tour of Australia, the Uruguay attacker is not expected to still be at the club next season to repeat his feats in the previous campaign when he finished as the Reds' top scorer
The new Premier League campaign is now less than a month away and already Liverpool have been finding the back of the net with great regularity in preseason, but just who will be the Reds’ goal getters when the real stuff gets underway next month?
Well, it is time to take a look into our crystal ball and make some predictions, but one thing is for sure, last season’s main man, Luis Suarez, looks like being conspicuous by his absence from this list as the speculation about the forward’s move away from Anfield grows more intense by the day.
And so who will be the players helping to make up the shortfall in goals once the Uruguayan’s exit is finally confirmed …?
Red-hot form: Liverpool fans will be hoping that Sturridge continues where he left off last season when the new campaign gets underway
The 2013/14 campaign is set to be Sturridge’s most prolific season of his entire career to date, if his first six months as a Liverpool player are anything to go by.
Having been signed from Chelsea in the January transfer window, the 23-year-old made a blistering start to his career at Anfield, registering 11 goals and five assists in just 16 matches in all competitions for his new team.
And in the expected absence of the wantaway Suarez, the England international will be the main man on the red half of Merseyside as far as goalscoring is concerned next season, subject to his successful recovery from his ankle ligament injury that is.
All of which means that Sturridge’s name will be one of the first down on manager Brendan Rodgers’ teamsheet due to the paucity of attacking options that the Northern Irishman will have at his disposal.
As such, expect Sturridge to net a career-best 30 goals in all competitions for Liverpool in the new campaign, 25 of them coming in the Premier League, to make him the club’s top scorer.
Eye on the ball: Aspas has already made some impression as a Liverpool player
Liverpool’s recent new signing from Celta de Vigo has already made an eye-catching start to life as a Red when scoring a sublime 25-yarder on his debut as a second-half substitute in the club’s first preseason game of the summer at Preston North End earlier this month.
That curled effort has just nudged the Andalucian ahead of fellow front man Fabio Borini in the pecking order of strikers in line to replace the unsettled Suarez in attack for Liverpool next season alongside first-choice striker Sturridge.
So do not be at all surprised to see the versatile 25-year-old feature prominently from the start of next season, possibly in a number of different forward positions, although judging from the early glimpses of Aspas, that will not hinder his ability to get himself into goalscoring positions on the field of play.
And that is why this little livewire of a centre-forward should not be discounted when it comes to predicting Liverpool’s leading marksmen in the new campaign, and with the Spaniard set to get more than his fair share of game time in 2013/14, expect Aspas to net 20 goals.
Leading from the front: Gerrard will hope to once again break the 10-goal barrier at Anfield next season
As Steven Gerrard gets older, so his goals output from midfield diminishes, although last season the England international did buck that trend as he netted 10 goals in his 45 matches in all competitions for the Reds.
Consequently, should Captain Fantastic manage to once again stay virtually injury free in the new campaign (Gerrard would have played the entire 2012/13 top-flight season but for a shoulder injury that ruled him out of the club’s final three league fixtures), then there is absolutely no reason at all for the midfield dynamo not to rack up similar, if not better, numbers for the team.
And with “Stevie G” also Liverpool’s recognised penalty taker, expect the skipper to be on target on at least 13 occasions, including netting the two goals that he currently needs to bring up his century of strikes in the Premier League as well.
Plenty to cheer about: Borini celebrates netting his first-ever Premier League goal for Liverpool at St James' Park last April
Two goals in 20 appearances last time round for Liverpool’s new signing from AS Roma, but there were mitigating factors in the Italy international’s poor goalscoring return, namely two serious injuries either side of Christmas that badly disrupted the player’s debut campaign for the Reds.
However, there were encouraging signs after the 22-year-old’s recovery from his dislocated shoulder toward the back-end of last season, when Borini finally netted his first-ever Premier League goal for the Merseysiders in their 6-0 mauling of Newcastle United.
And these were continued into the summer when the striker also displayed his prowess in front of goal as captain of the Italy Under-21s in the European Championship in Israel, which all bodes well for an improved goalscoring return for Borini in the new campaign, although anything would be better than the previous season’s efforts.
Smiles better: Coutinho celebrates netting at Preston in Liverpool's first pre-season game of the summer
In the likely absence of Suarez, the creative burden is set to fall even more heavily on Liverpool’s impish creator next season and as we have already witnessed in the club’s two preseason games this summer, both of which saw the playmaker find the back of the net in, that should also mean a higher goals output from the Brazilian, too.
Having arrived at the club from Inter Milan at the turn of the year, the 21-year-old shocked many at Anfield with the ease at which he adjusted to the peculiar demands of the English Premier League.
So much so that in just 13 matches last season, Coutinho recorded an impressive three goals and seven assists; however, expect those goalscoring numbers to grow in the new campaign as the some-time Brazil international is given even greater licence to roam and more responsibility to attack.