5 Reasons Why Liverpool Will Win Silverware This Season
Just a few months after Liverpool dramatically lost their grip on the Premier League title in the closing weeks of the 2013/14 season, the Reds will be starting their new campaign on Sunday feeling optimistic rather than dwelling on their mistakes.
Already Liverpool have looked a more coherent unit over preseason. A series of fine performances during their preseason American tour and a scintillating 4-0 home win over Borussia Dortmund will only have served to underline their credentials as a team to fear in the four competitions they will be taking part in this season.
With Manchester United lifting the International Champions Cup trophy after a final win over Liverpool and Arsenal beating Manchester City to the Community Shield, two of Liverpool’s rivals have already gotten their hands on shiny memorabilia from two high-profile preseason fixtures.
Here are five reasons why Liverpool will win silverware this season. Let us know your views in the comments below.
Increased Squad Strength and Depth
While Luis Suarez’s exit from Anfield has left Liverpool with a gaping hole up front, Brendan Rodgers has strengthened his squad significantly this summer, bringing in eight players to significantly add to the options at his disposal.
One of the biggest differences with the Reds squad this season compared to just a few months ago, therefore, is that there is no longer a predictable starting XI, and that opponents will have a hard time projecting what lineup he goes with week in, week out.
Perhaps the transfer business was done out of necessity—what with Liverpool finally back in the Champions League this season—but actually managing to add quality, instead of just quantity, was always going to be both a challenge and a priority.
And Rodgers finally has a big-enough squad to allow him to pick and choose for different occasions and fixtures across different competitions. This kind of flexibility and depth will only serve the Reds well over the campaign, allow players to maintain their form and fitness, and equip them with the momentum and freshness needed for a challenge for silverware.
Another Year in Brendan Rodgers’ System
What a difference a year makes: Just a year ago, Liverpool were widely tipped to continue their transitional period under Brendan Rodgers and progress slowly up the Premier League table, not take the league by storm and finish second.
Rodgers will be beginning just his third season in charge at Liverpool on Sunday, yet his impact has already been evident far beyond the annals of Anfield and Melwood: He has transformed the team’s style, approach and reputation in just two short years.
We began to see the potential that his system—and technically accomplished and hardworking players playing in such a system—could have halfway through his first season, and last season was a continuation of that tactical, technical and attacking maturity.
With another year having passed, Liverpool’s players are now far more comfortable and established in playing their brand of quick, exciting and pressing-centric football. The transformations of Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson in their overall play serve as reminders of what Rodgers’ squad can achieve as a whole.
The final few months of last season suggested the benefits of momentum, comfort and evident joy in an established system. If preseason was anything to go by, a World Cup and an American tour hasn’t derailed that momentum, and the Reds will be looking to extend that form into the new campaign.
Mental Strength and Team Identity
Hand in hand with momentum and an established style and system is the team-centric mentality that Rodgers has instilled in his squad. And while the undisputed star of the team has since departed, it could also serve as the pivotal moment when Liverpool grew into a team at the expense of any standout individual.
The dramatic collapse of their title challenge last season—especially conceding a calamitous 3-3 comeback to Crystal Palace—was a major blip of an exceptional campaign, but without a doubt the Reds grew as a team and had shown signs of rapidly maturing mental strength.
So strong was their attack that they rarely scored just a single goal in matches, but holding on to leads despite a leaky defence and mounting late comebacks of their own had built up a nice momentum that had pundits and fans purring up and down the country.
But with Suarez’s departure, the need for collective excellence at Anfield has probably grown exponentially. It could yet free the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling and unlock their undoubted potential en route to stepping up as stars in their own right.
Last Season’s Close Shave Will Serve as Motivation
Critics and fans of rival teams will never let go of that iconic “coulda-woulda-shoulda” moment from Steven Gerrard after their win against Manchester City, but those associated with Liverpool all believed in the context: After all, if Gerrard had started shedding tears and issuing rallying cries too, who were they not to believe that they could win it?
Of course, what happened since will go down in Liverpool history, and Gerrard has since said that the failed title challenge has combined with a miserable World Cup campaign to be the worst three months of his life (via the Guardian).
Yet a young, hungry squad tasted what a true Premier League title challenge felt like, the intense emotions associated with being near the top, the focus required to sustain performances every week, and the mental toughness needed to grind out results and bring home the points.
That failed title challenge could have shown the Reds players that they, too, could fancy themselves as underdogs, and prove to be the best training experience of all on how to go one better and actually take home some silverware.
The Next Stage in Liverpool’s Evolution Under Brendan Rodgers
All this culminates in a collective yearn at Anfield to see their efforts bear fruit in the form of a trophy by the end of this season.
And while Rodgers would be forgiven for prioritizing the Premier League and getting his team back into the Champions League last season, especially given the thinness of his squad, this season he has the tools to fight on all four fronts.
Add that to the experience that the team will have gained from their achievements last term and the injection of first-team quality into the squad, and Liverpool will be a strong contender to go far in at least one competition they’re involved in this season.
It would be a lot to ask even from Brendan Rodgers and his grand vision to deliver silverware already as the next stage in Liverpool’s evolution, but given their exponential improvement over the past two seasons, we just can’t rule it out.