Liverpool FC: Some Bold Predictions for Next Season
Many Liverpool fans are confident for the coming season and with good reason. A solid end to last year under Kenny Dalglish has seen confidence go through the Anfield roof, hence the sudden wave of expectation.
As a Liverpool fan myself, I am guilty of being one of the many who would be disappointed with a sixth-place finish next season, but hey, you've got to aim high.
1. Liverpool Will Finish Above Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal
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This prediction is by far the most realistic, which would probably worry some of you. I apologise.
However, Liverpool fans witnessed the destruction of Manchester City at Anfield, and that performance typified the way Kenny Dalglish expects Liverpool to play. The message sent to other top four challengers by Liverpool that night was sent by passionate and confident Liverpool players. That message will come back louder than ever next season.
If the season started when Dalglish took Liverpool under his wing, Liverpool would have finished in second, above Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham. What's to stop them from extending that run of form?
2. Luis Suarez Will Score More Times Than Fernando Torres
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This one will please Liverpool fans. Luis Suarez scored more Premier League goals for Liverpool than Fernando Torres could for Chelsea last season. Suarez has continued his good form for Uruguay, helping the national team to the Copa America Final, held this weekend. In contrast, Torres was looking shaky yet again in today's preseason match, where he played in his preferred position as a lone striker.
The formations available to Kenny Dalglish will suit Suarez, who is a versatile player who can play anywhere on the wings or across the front. If Suarez can make the most of Andy Carroll's knockdowns, Stewart Downing's crosses and Steven Gerrard/CharlieAdam's passes, he can score more than El Niño next season.
3. Liverpool Will Be Top Scorer's Next Season
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This one is slightly related to the previous prediction, due to the fact that Luis Suarez will be crucial to this one as well. One thing Liverpool don't need this season is another midfielder. Alberto Aquilani, Steven Gerrard, Charlie Adam, Joe Cole and Raul Meireles all fit the bill of playmaker, so here's hoping one can shine and set up a few goals.
If this does happen, Liverpool may well hit more than the rest in next year's Premier League season, making Liverpool one of the most entertaining teams again.
4. Liverpool Will Do the League Double over United and Chelsea
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Looks a tad lonely there, doesn't he? This picture epitomises the recent body language from the Spaniard. When Liverpool went home with three points from Stamford Bridge without him, Fernando Torres looked dejected. I think—and hope—he'll go home deflated after the Liverpool games next season.
The Anfield games will be much easier than the away games, obviously, but Kenny Dalglish seems to have found a winning formula for those key clashes away from home: either the 4-3-3 fluid formation designed to attack or another attacking formation, the 5-3-2. The latter was the formation used against Chelsea away from home, and it worked. There's no reason it won't work again.
5. Steven Gerrard Won't Be as Influential
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I hope I'm wrong and right at the same time. That's strange.
Liverpool's midfield is so crowded now that there is no need for Captain Fantastic to single-handedly lift Liverpool to victories or hard fought draws. Charlie Adam, Raul Meireles, Joe Cole, Lucas and Alberto Aquilani can all inspire Liverpool to wins. When Gerrard retires, or gets used less to preserve fitness, they may have to. This season may be the first time they have to do that.
Jordan Henderson looks to be the long-term replacement, but I don't see him racking up more than 10-15 appearances next season. Shorter-term replacements, like Adam and Meireles, may well be labeled the next Gerrard. Sad thought, but its all for the best.
6. Stewart Downing Will Settle in Quickly and Become a Fan Favourite
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A player with flair lights my fire. With his flair. I'm a genius with humour, I know.
But, it's true. Luis Suarez has lit up the Anfield pitch again, and Downing may well follow in his footsteps. I was secretly a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United, just because his tricks and speed were so rare and provided a nice change. I think Downing could give Liverpool that—on a lesser scale, of course.
His crossing ability will also help him in his quest to impress the Anfield faithful, as he will definitely be one of the main ammunition providers. Good luck, mate.
7. Joe Cole Will Finally Impress
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I'm using the "finally" term loosely there. Joe Cole impressed me once last season—in an Europa League tie against weak opposition. But he has improved, and Dalglish looks to be keeping faith in him.
I've said it before, and I'm obviously going to say it again: Cole is one of my favourite English players. I heard something from an unusual source today. It said: "England's criticised for not producing many natural football players, but Joe Cole is one." I can't help but agree. Cole is certainly comfortable with a football at his feet, and I hope he delivers next season.
That's about it, so thanks for reading. The source mentioned above was FIFA 2011, a nice note to end on.