With Steven Gerrard gone, Raheem Sterling gone and Daniel Sturridge’s on-going fitness issues, Liverpool have been forced to take action in the transfer market.
The arrival of James Milner and Roberto Firmino, and the addition of Nathaniel Clyne mean Liverpool go into the 2015/2016 season with a new look team as they bid to make a return to the Top 4.
Here we take a look at the starting eleven, we believe Brendan Rodgers should play, when the new season kicks off against Stoke City on August 8th.
With no sign of a new proven No 1 being added to Liverpool’s growing list of newcomers, it looks likely Belgian international Mignolet will head into the new campaign as Rodgers’ first choice goalkeeper.
The former Sunderland stopper lost his way midway through last season and was unceremoniously dropped by his boss. Liverpool’s lack of quality alternatives was highlighted during this spell however, and Mignolet managed to regain his position by the backend of the campaign, performing adequately as Liverpool’s season fell apart.
Adequate just won’t cut it for a Liverpool No 1 though, and the Belgian remains one of the Anfield club’s weak links.
The England international is very close to what could be a bargain £12.5 million signing for Liverpool. Clyne represents everything Rodgers likes in his new signings. He is still young at just 24; he has good technical ability and pace, loves getting forward from his full back position, and is English.
The former Southampton man looks a top class addition to Liverpool’s squad and would appear to be the answer to a long standing problem the Merseyside giants have had at right back.
The Slovakian international is the experienced head in Liverpool’s backline, having made 220 appearances for the club since his move from Zenit in 2008.
The defender’s contract expires in 2016, but Brendan Rodgers has made offering the 30 year old a new deal a top priority during the close season, and reports are circulating he is on the verge of penning a new three year contract to keep him at Anfied until 2018.
The Croatian had a nightmare debut season at Anfield following his big money move from Southampton in 2014. The form that brought about his move to the club was replaced by nervy, sometimes calamitous performances that were indicative of Liverpool’s defensive frailties.
The addition of Milner and shifting of Emre Can into a midfield holding role would go some way to offering the former Lyon man more protection than he received last season, where it was only Gerrard or Joe Allen screening Liverpool’s shaky defence.
At Southampton where he was able to fully concentrate on his own game because he had the protection of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin, his game blossomed.
Liverpool fans will hope, sorting out their midfield issues will help Lovren find the form that he displayed during that 2013/2014 campaign.
One of the signings made with the Luis Suarez money in 2014, the former Sevilla full back faded as his debut season in England wore on. The £12 million man drew criticism from the Anfield faithful for his lack of defensive nous at times during the campaign, and will need to sharpen up that facet of his game to remain part of Brendan Rodgers starting eleven.
The fact that the club are not being linked with a new left back however, would suggest Rodgers has faith in the 22 year old to come good next season.
Can is currently starring for the German U-21 side in the Czech Republic, playing in his favoured central midfield position. The 21 year old was shifted about during his first season at Anfield, as Rodgers tried him at centre back, full back and in midfield.
The former Leverkusen man is seen by many as the heir to Steven Gerrard’s Anfield throne, and if Rodgers begins next season with a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, the German will surely occupy one of the midfield spots.
Signed on a free transfer from Manchester City, Milner has given up a supporting role at the Etihad to hopefully become a mainstay in Liverpool’s drive for Champions League football.
The 29 year old, so often used as a utility man at City, will wish to nail down one of his favoured central midfield positions in Liverpool’s first season post Gerrard.
The former Sunderland man who was signed for £16 million during the summer of 2011, is expected to take over the club captaincy from the departed Gerrard. Henderson has blossomed under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers, and recently signed a new long term contract with the club.
Adding creativity and composure to his game since the arrival of the former Swansea boss, Henderson has become a mainstay for club and country.
The Southampton academy graduate is the man most likely to benefit from Raheem Sterling’s departure from Anfield, should the attackers expected move to Man City happen. The England international suffered a frustrating debut season on Merseyside, as injuries and tactical tinkering from his manager, kept the attacking midfielder from forming any sort of rhythm and momentum at his new club.
If he can stay fit, as he did for much of his time on the south coast, Lallana will have a big role to play as one of Liverpool’s attacking midfield players next season.
Coutinho really came of age, in what was a turbulent campaign for Liverpool. The attacking midfielder was named the club’s Player of the Year for 2014/2015, a season which also saw him nominated for the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards.
The 22 year old will be expected to add more goals to his game next season, as the club waits for Daniel Sturridge to regain fitness, and new signing Roberto Firmino finds his feet in a new League.
The new £28 million recruit may find himself playing upfront as Liverpool kick off their new campaign, due to Sturridge’s fitness issues.
Firmino’s 23 Bundesliga goals over the last two seasons suggest he can handle the role however, and his style of play and potential partnership with fellow countryman Coutinho, mean fans of the Reds may get to witness the kind of football that saw them come so close to ending their League drought in 2013/2014.