Brendan Rodgers atoned for last summer’s naivety in the transfer market when bagging Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge in January, and looks to have added extra attacking impetus with the arrivals of Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas from Sevilla and Celta Vigo respectively.
The Northern Irishman must now turn his attention to his side’s unstable back five.
The bare minimum required from Liverpool will be improvement on last season’s seventh place, and they can be backed at 1/4 for a top six finish.
The 13/8 on a Champions League place in a competitive market will likely be of greater interest to their legion of backers, and while improvement in the second half of last season was apparent in attack, the Reds still have serious defensive issues for a club of their pedigree.
Constant change in this area contributed to inconsistent performances, particularly away from home where all their top four challengers picked up more points.
Simon Mignolet has replaced Pepe Reina in goal, and Kolo Toure arriving on a free from Man City is a low-risk squad acquisition, but with continued injury concerns surrounding Daniel Agger (and the manager’s apparent lack of faith in Martin Skrtel) the mooted £12 million move for Schalke’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos will be top of the agenda, as Rodgers will be mindful of the need for centre-back cover beyond the enigmatic Sebastian Coates and injury-prone Martin Kelly.
Rodgers was forced to experiment last year at full-back, with Andre Wisdom and John Flanagan both utilised as cover for Glen Johnson on the right. While Johnson looks to have reclaimed that spot for club and country, Jose Henrique looks far from assured on the left having failed to make the position his own.
Henrique could drop to the bench if rumours linking Valencia’s Aly Cissokho prove true, and while the former Lyon man’s career has stalled somewhat in recent years he would significantly bolster Rodgers’ options in defence.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.