Season Preview: Liverpool

Liverpool have something of a strange season ahead. A manager who is in danger but also looks oddly secure. A defence which is a walking disaster but a strong looking midfield. A forward line which could score all the goals in the world but is also inexperienced and/or injury prone. They missed the Champion’s League last year and will be desperate to get back.

We had a chat with Liverpool fan Jack about what we might see from the Scousers this season…

Hi Jack, thanks for chatting to us! Firstly, what are your expectations for the season?

I know there are a lot of Liverpool fans on Twitter expecting big things this season but personally I’m not expecting too much. I’d obviously love to see us get back into the top 4 more than anything but I can’t see it happening as I feel there’s a pretty noticeable gap between us and Chelsea, Arsenal, United and City. I’d be very shocked if we didn’t at least come 5th though, I’m expecting a decent cup run though, I’d like it to be in the Europa League as I think that’s our best bet at qualifying for the Champions League but I think it’s more likely to be the FA cup seeing as Rodgers is pretty poor in Europe.

Liverpool were defined at times last season by dreadful defending. How is that looking this year coming?

I think we’ve got a reasonably talented bunch of defenders at the club, especially with the signing of Clyne (Joe Gomez looks promising too), but I honestly can’t see our defending being much improved from last season or the season before for 3 reasons really.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - JULY 24:  Nathanniel Clyne of Liverpool FC in action during the international friendly match between Malaysia XI and Liverpool FC at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on July 24, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by How Foo Yeen/Getty Images)

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – JULY 24: Nathanniel Clyne of Liverpool FC in action during the international friendly match between Malaysia XI and Liverpool FC at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on July 24, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by How Foo Yeen/Getty Images)

1. I don’t think Rodgers will play our best back 4 (Moreno – Sakho – Ilori – Clyne), I’d love to see Ilori get a proper chance but I don’t think he will and we’ll be stuck with Skrtel for the foreseeable future. I’m sure Lovren will also get a fair amount of game time which is going to lead to a lot of goals conceded again. 2. We STILL haven’t bought a defensive midfielder. Everyone saw the difference playing Lucas made to our defence last season and he’s bang average, how that didn’t lead to the penny dropping for Rodgers that we need one is beyond me  3. I don’t believe that Rodgers is capable of setting up/coaching a solid defence. So the forecast from me is another year of awful defending.

From the outside it is mystifying how you lot put up with Brendan from day to day. What are your hopes for him this season?

I just really hope he learns from last years mistakes, he used to be praised for being pragmatic and picking his teams on merit whereas last season he was too stubborn and picked teams based on status rather than merit a lot of the time, that’s why Gerrard and Johnson got so many games. I also hope he gets us defending better.

Liverpool's Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers gestures to Malaysian fans during a training session at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on July 23, 2015 on the eve of their friendly football match against Malaysia XI.     AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA        (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers gestures to Malaysian fans during a training session at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on July 23, 2015 on the eve of their friendly football match against Malaysia XI. AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

With the exits of Gerrard and Sterling (who we will come to in more detail below) Liverpool have a need to redefine themselves a bit this year. Move on, perhaps. City fan favourite James Milner has been brought in and players such as Can and Markovic will be more settled. With all the changes going on who are you looking to for a big improvement this year? Will the team shape/tactics change vastly now Gerrard has moved on?

In terms of players I’m expecting a big season from I’m looking towards Coutinho, he was phenomenal in the second half of last season and everyone knows how good he is but he’s yet to do it consistently for a full season so I’m hoping that the coming season will be when he does that. Also Henderson, with Gerrard gone he won’t be dragged down so much by having to do Gerrard’s running for him so I think we could see a very impressive season from him. Then from the new guys I’m very excited to see Firmino play however I won’t be expecting too much from him in his first season.

Brazil's forward Roberto Firmino (C) is marked by Paraguay's midfielders Victor Caceres (L) and Eduardo Aranda during their 2015 Copa America football championship quarter-final match, in Concepcion, Chile, on June 27, 2015.   AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA        (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazil’s forward Roberto Firmino (C) is marked by Paraguay’s midfielders Victor Caceres (L) and Eduardo Aranda during their 2015 Copa America football championship quarter-final match, in Concepcion, Chile, on June 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

I think we’ll probably be playing a 433 or 442 diamond for the majority of the season, we’ll likely put a team out that can switch between the two formations mid game is necessary.

And finally to the elephant in the room… Sterling is obviously a pretty big deal for City. I think he’s going to be a real star at City. Ignoring all the nonsense written by the ex-Liverpool Legends in the press and the hordes on twitter, how big a loss is he for you? How do you think he’ll do at City?

I think he’s a massive loss to us, not only is he a fantastic player but it’s a huge knock to the whole ethos of signing young players that FSG have implemented because if we can’t keep hold of our most talented youngster then what’s the point? I think he’ll do great at City.

Liverpool fans are pretty bitter about it and I think a lot of us have allowed that to cloud our judgement of him, I think I’m a bit more lenient as I went to school with him so I know he’s not a bad kid even if the way he went about the move wasn’t great. You’ve got a ridiculous talent on your hands with Sterling and I think he’ll be great for you as long as you Pellegrini doesn’t play him on the right wing as that would be such a waste of his talents.

Thanks again for answering some questions, Jack! Appreciate your love for Sterling…

Interview by Alex Timperley

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One comment on “Season Preview: Liverpool
  1. I’m not convinced Liverpool will make 5th without a struggle – Rodgers has a lot to prove this season and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he has gone before the season is out

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