Liverpool: Can they dream beyond 4th spot?
According to returning Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, six teams will vie for the Premier League title this season. Five of those six teams have managed Top 4 finishes in the last two seasons, with only Chelsea and Tottenham not present each time. The sixth team in Mourinho’s equation, Liverpool, have encountered a spectacularly underwhelming run in the last four seasons, finishing 7th, 6th, 8th, and 7th respectively in the last four years.
While it is difficult to ascertain whether Mourinho actually meant what he said, there is no doubt that the Champions League places for this season will be very tightly contested. With Tottenham looking stronger than ever despite the potential departure of Bale, the North Londoners are being tipped as dark horses for the Premier League title. The threat of Arsenal should also never be counted out, as the Gunners still possess a strong starting eleven.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are being tipped as the dark horses for the coveted 4th spot, having built an exciting, young team under Brendan Rodgers, while successfully retaining the services of Luis Suarez. But is a mere Champions League position all that Liverpool are capable of? Can the Reds of Merseyside upset the bigger favourites and actually manage to sneak in a Top 3 finish, thereby guaranteeing an automatic Champions League berth in 2014-15?
Here are some reasons why you can expect the unexpected from the Reds:
Youthful talent and potential
Simon Mignolet, Daniel Sturridge, Phillipe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson are some of the key players in this side, and continue to improve on a daily basis. All of these players are on the good side of 25, and there exist other exciting young talents such as Luis Alberto and Jordan Ibe, who are yet to display their skills to a large majority of the Anfield faithful, but have the talent to make a difference.
The controversial Suarez himself is only 26, and given that a footballer generally peaks around the age of 28, it is extremely possible that Suarez can become an even better player in the coming years, which would only serve to increase Liverpool’s chances of a brilliant finish this season.
Fabio Borini and Joe Allen are also under 25 years of age, and both players will have a point to prove this season, after the disappointments of last season. Both players have shown potential in the past, and there is reason to believe that they can end up as world-class players, provided they are able to grab their chances.