Liverpool Team Guide: Reds too long for another top-four berth

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Team Name: Liverpool

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Last Season: 2nd

Who they’ve signed so far: Rickie Lambert (Southampton, £4m), Dejan Lovren (Southampton, £20m), Adam Lallana (Southampton, £25m), Emre Can (Bayer Leverkusen, 10m), Lazar Markovic (Benfica, £20m), Divock Origi (Lille, £10m), Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid, Loan)

Out the exit door: Luis Suarez (Barcelona, £75m), Pepe Reina (Bayern Munich, £2m), Andre Wisdom (West Brom, Loan), Iago Aspas (Sevilla, Loan), Luis Alberto (Malaga, Loan), Divock Origi (Lille, Loan)

Key Man: Philippe Coutinho

CoutinhoSticker

Brazil’s decision to omit the 22-year-old from their World Cup 23 looks a truly dreadful one in hindsight.

Coutinho was shuffled through central and left-sided attacking-midfield positions last term, yet still managed five goals and seven assists in the top flight, while also laying on a further 58 unconverted chances for teammates.

Now Luis Suarez has left, the likes of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge will look to Coutinho for even more creative spark this season.

Under the Radar: Lazar Markovic

Due to the strange dearth of Portuguese league statistics across the world wide web, there’s not much to go on regarding the new £20m man, bar a six-goal combined European and Primeira Liga haul in 39 appearances last term.

It appears Markovic has been bought to compete with Adam Lallana for the left-forward spot often occupied by Suarez last term. The 20-year-old will have to be some player to fill that void.

Team Liability: Jose Enrique

Brendan Rodgers’ seeming inability to plump for a new left-back is likely to see former Valencia and Newcastle man Enrique – who has featured in pre-season after missing most of last term – start 2014/15 in the first team.

The Northern Irish gaffer often preferred Stewart Downing in Enrique’s position during the 2012/13 campaign, pushing Enrique further forward to little effect, which suggests that the 28-year-old is not well liked at Anfield.

Title odds: 12/1

Best bet: Top-four finish @ 4/5

Our Verdict:

If a group of Martians who, after watching Liverpool’s fantastic 2013/14 campaign, travelled to earth over the summer and found the Reds available for 12/1 to go one better this term upon arrival, their little green heads would surely explode with confusion.

Rodgers has gone about spending his Champions League/Luis Suarez-enabled windfall by targeting key areas of weakness within the squad, although admittedly a new left-back is yet to be found.

If they sign Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno, or a player of that ilk, then Liverpool may end up with the best balanced team in the Premier League, and would probably be worth a title punt.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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