Premier League season preview: Liverpool - predicted finish 5th

Rodgers must rely on Sturridge to grab the goals. Photo: PA

Predicted finish: 5th

With no Luis Suarez and welcome Champions League distractions Liverpool will falter in the league. Yes, if you take away Suarez’s goals last season then the Reds would have still scored the same amount as Chelsea (71) - but Mourinho has added Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Didier Drogba. Liverpool also conceded more than Crystal Palace, who finished 11th, last season. Much depends on Lovren's ability to start his career well at Anfield, and whether they can attract a 20 goal a season striker in the coming weeks.

Transfers so far:

Ins: Adam Lallana (Southampton, £25m), Dejan Lovren (Southampton, £20m), Lazar Markovic (Benfica, £20m), Emre Can (Bayer Leverkusen, £9.75m), Rickie Lambert (Southampton, £4m), Lawrence Vigouroux, Kevin Stewart (Both Tottenham Hotspur) Divock Origi (Lille, £10m), Javier Manquillo (Alteico Madrid, Loan)

Outs: Luis Suarez (Barcelona, £75m), Pepe Reina (Bayern Munich, Undisclosed) Villyan Bijev (Slavia Sofia), Jakub Sokolik (Yeovil Town), Luis Alberto (Malaga, Loan), Iago Aspas (Sevilla, Loan), Andre Wisdom (West Bromwich Albion, Loan) Divock Origi (Lille, loan)

Lovren
Dejan Lovren could become a Kop cult hero. Credit: PA

New signings - the verdict:

Luis Suarez is irreplaceable. So Brendan Rodgers has decided the best way to utilise the £75m Barcelona paid for the teethy forward is by investing in some much needed squad depth.

The Southampton trio of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren have arrived for a combined £49m, all of which have proven their qualities in the Premier League, but tackling Europe’s elite on a regular basis is a much tougher challenge. Whether Lallana can consistently apply his flair at this level remains to be seen but Lovren looks to be a steely character and has the leadership qualities to become the next Kop cult hero. Boyhood fan Lambert will be loved at Liverpool regardless, not signed to replace Suarez’s goals but more to offer his excellent all round intelligence on and off the ball - has a cool head and will play his part.

Winger Lazar Markovic comes with the hefty burden of a £20m price tag for a 20-year-old but with plenty of promise. Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant described him as the best youngster he’s seen since Ronaldo and Messi.

Emre Can’s arrival from Leverkusen could be the signing of the summer. Liverpool have missed a strong, driving presence since Gerrard’s reinvention as a defensive midfielder and Can has plenty of it. Can knock people off the ball with ease and has the ability to carry it - as Yaya Toure has proved at Man City - these are invaluable yet rare qualities in the Premier League.

Loic Remy’s failed move was a blow to Rodgers and Liverpool still desperately need a striker to take the weight off Sturridge’s shoulders - optimistic moves for Falcao and Edinson Cavani look to be beyond the club’s reach, so could Swansea’s Wilfried Bony be that man?

Alberto Moreno will be Liverpool's new left-back after the Reds finally agreed a deal with Sevilla, a position that Rodgers has looked to fill for a while.

Ibe
Jordon Ibe could shine at Anfield this season. Credit: PA

One to watch: Jordon Ibe

Raheem Sterling has rightly attracted all the plaudits over the last year or so but it’s another young, tricky winger that could steal some of the limelight this season. After a successful loan period at Birmingham last year Ibe, just 18, looks ready to challenge for a place in the first team and has already been one of the Reds shining lights in pre-season. Right footed but able to play on the left, Ibe has power, pace and looks fearless - a potentially deadly combination.

Rodgers
Rodgers has brought the feel good factor back to Anfield. Credit: PA

Manager:

Brendan Rodgers can do no wrong. He’s returned Champions League football to Anfield and had the Kop dreaming of their first Premier League title. Proved that he has the man-management skills to cope with the toughest of challenges and let Suarez go at the right time after yet more crazy antics. Ultimately this season will be judged on the way he has utilised the money from the sale of his star striker - has gone for much needed depth so far, but is there enough quality to challenge for title again?

Your predictions:

Xyn4y2xv_normal

@itvfootball LFC 2nd again. Mourinho's men will be too strong unfortunetly, city 3rd and united 4th. then we all laugh at arsenal in 5th.

N4wjmeve_normal

@itvfootball We'll struggle for top 4 I'm afraid. Suarez money has been wasted on average squad players. Shame. #YNWA

Bqfdpf3b_normal

@itvfootball 3rd. The priority will be to cement top 4. They will be stronger than Arsenal and MUFC will need another season.

5mdeuwkz_normal

@itvfootball 4th maybe too many signings to disrupt the team but not too many that they dont get 4th