The only way is up?
For Rodgers, stopping goals will be one of his key objectives this year, but finding more goals from midfield will be ever so important as well, as have been proved by the last two occasions. The competition in the league has heated up even further, a slump out of the top 4 is a very likely process; being left behind while others steam ahead will be something Rodgers hopes doesn’t happen. The Reds simply have to maintain a Champions League spot at the bare minimum.
The likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal have quietly strengthen their squads, without losing any key players – this will be discussed in the next article. Liverpool might have added the likes of Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Rickie Lambert and Emre Can, but their lack of a marquee signing plus the fact that their best player had left the club will surely worry fans.
Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, the old SAS, combined for 52 goals last season, half of the 102 goals scored. This time around, Sturridge, being the main man, will hope to grab at least 20 goals – in all competitions, mind you. Lambert, the new no.9, will hope he doesn’t emulate his two most recent predecessors, Iago Aspas and Andy Carroll. The former Southampton striker will hope to hit at least double digits, again in all competitions. The likely signing of Loic Remy to replace Sunderland-bound Fabio Borini will add more needed raw pace upfront, and the French international will need to hit a tally similar to his at Newcastle last season, 14 in the league. Even if it’s 14 in all competitions, Remy will be considered a success.
decent signing, but will remy get enough goals?
Among those three strikers, with a possible fourth that Rodgers is on the lookout for, 40 goals will be decent and reasonable target to hit. This still represents a drop of more than 10 goals from last year’s strike duo. A drop like this has proved not to be such a big problem, but only if the goalscoring midfielders step up.
Loan flop Victor Moses scored his solitary strike on his debut, while Raheem Sterling managed a excellent return of 9 goals. Gerrard managed 13, though three-quarters came from the spot, and it would be unwise to rely on the skipper for goals this year.
The likes of Jordan Henderson and Philipp Coutinho must step up. Both had several chances to add to their tally last year, but missed from good positions. Finishing will be an area they have to improve. New signings Lallana and Markovic will be looking to provide for the strikers upfront, but they themselves need to find the net as well. And Sterling’s constant rise and improvement should mean he will be able to enter double figures – in all competitions.
Simply put, Liverpool’s midfielders have to score more goals, to make up for the loss of a single man’s 30-odd goals. That’s the only other way they can avoid the fate that held back Houllier and Benitez’s title-chasing sides, ultimately falling away, before losing their own jobs shortly after. Please take note, Rodgers.