Can Liverpool challenge Next Season?

At the start of the 2014-2015 Premier League season, many Liverpool fans were optimistic about their chances of challenging for the title after finishing runners up to Manchester City in the previous campaign.

However, Brendan Rodgers’ side were hindered by a slow start and currently sit four points behind last year’s champions, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Unfortunately for the Reds, former player Luis Garcia’s prediction of competing for the title this year was just a little farfetched.

Throughout the second half of the season, the Reds have shown that they are more than capable of putting an unbeaten run together and fans will be quietly confident looking ahead to next year.

They have an FA Cup semi-final this weekend against Aston Villa and if they get past Tim Sherwood’s side, then they would have the opportunity to give Steven Gerrard the perfect birthday gift on May 30th. Here, we take a look at this current Liverpool side and discuss what they need to do to ensure that they challenge for the Premier League next year.

Liverpool are in good form
Their form in the second half of the campaign would suggest that they can still compete with England’s top clubs. They lost Luis Suarez in the summer and it would be fair to say that Liverpool struggled to adapt to life without the Uruguayan striker.

However, the Reds have turned their form around since a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United in December and have picked up 36 points from a possible 48 – including a run of 13 league matches without defeat. If you'd had a bet on that then you could have made a fortune, especially with a Betfred promotion code.

Meanwhile, Rodgers’ side have progressed through the FA Cup, beating AFC Wimbledon, Bolton Wanderers, Crystal Palace and Blackburn Rovers to reach the semi-finals at Wembley.

Although Liverpool have not totally convinced in the competition so far, the Reds will be confident of defeating a rejuvenated Villa and give themselves the opportunity to win an eighth FA Cup. A cup triumph would give Liverpool a huge confidence boost heading into next season.

They will make signings in the summer
Rodgers has already announced that the club will be looking to bring players into Anfield this summer and it is estimated that two or three new faces could join Liverpool’s talented squad.

The Reds have been linked with various players, including Manchester United loanee Radamel Falcao, but the Northern Irishman Rodgers will have a clear idea on which players he would like to sign.

Liverpool are likely to seek another central midfielder due to the departure of Steven Gerrard. Most importantly, the Reds need to sign another world-class striker. Daniel Sturridge is excellent, but is injury-prone and with a possible summer exit for Raheem Sterling, Liverpool would be left short in attack.
Mario Balotelli has refused to buy into Rodgers’ philosophy and style, while Rickie Lambert – a previous summer acquisition from Southampton – has struggled to break into the first team.

In fact, these guys appear to have been busy working on their free-kicks, along with fellow strikers Fabio Borini and Lazar Markovic (see below). It is imperative for Liverpool’s purchases in the next transfer window to have a greater effect than last year’s signings.


They have two gems in Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling

The Brazilian has been one of the stars of the season, and has been at the centre of Liverpool’s attacking play this year. He has scored a number of fantastic goals and created numerous opportunities for Sturridge and Sterling in attack, while he is also willing to track back and work hard for the side. On current form, he is one of the best attacking midfielders in the world, and he will only get better as he fully develops.

Sterling is also exceptionally talented and, although his favoured position is on the wing, has featured as a striker while Sturridge has been injured. The England international is one of the most skilful players in the league and his trickery has helped him to get the better of most defenders in the division. Although the youngster has been involved in off-field issues, his talent on the field means that he is a ‘must keep’ in the transfer window this summer.

Verdict
Liverpool will certainly improve next year, and one should fully expect them to be in amongst the top sides. If they can keep Sterling and Coutinho at Anfield, they will have two of the Premier League’s brightest players.

The bookmakers of the likes of betfair are offering value on Liverpool to win this year’s FA Cup, and you can guarantee that they will be giving tasty odds on Rodgers’ side to win their first Premier League title next season. If Liverpool can avoid a slow start next year, the title race will be very interesting indeed.

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