Luis Suarez is a truly world-class player, and a lack of European football clearly helped Liverpool claim an unlucky second-place in the Premier League last term, but the withdrawal of these two advantages shouldn’t see the Reds’ title odds drift all the way out to 11/1, should they?
Remember, prior to captain Steven Gerrard’s tragic slip with his side at 0-0 against Chelsea at home, Liverpool were just 225 minutes of steady form away from their first Premier League title.
They’ve lost Suarez, yet retained Daniel Sturridge – scorer of 31 top-flight goals in 43 games under Rodgers – and 19-year-old Raheem Sterling, who notched twice and laid on three strikes in six appearances in the number ten role during the second half of last term, according to WhoScored.com.
A debate is underway as to how well Rodgers is spending the £100m-plus that has been handed to him this summer, but Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Alberto Moreno, who is expected to be unveiled shortly, will all strengthen what many believed were weak points in their 2013/14 squad.
The experience of last season may even embolden the Merseysiders, who had never got so close to lifting the Premier League in the 21 previous campaigns since its incarnation.
Liverpool ended the 2008/09 campaign four points behind eventual champions Manchester United in second, but they ruined their momentum that season by not winning a top-flight match in January.
They’ve never lost a league like United did in 1991/92 against Leeds, prior to Sir Alex Ferguson’s men topping the table for the first time in 26 years the following season, or Blackburn a year later ahead of pipping the Red Devils by a point 12 months on.
Arsenal’s first Premier League title triumph under Arsene Wenger in 1997/98 came after they improved two places and five points during the Frenchman’s first campaign in charge compared to the previous term.
In 1996/97, the Gunners effectively finished as joint-runners-up, just seven points behind Man Utd.
Chelsea also had to feel the cruel sting of second in 2003/04, having been blasted out of the water by Arsenal despite spending mountains of money the previous summer. They won the Premier League by 12 points the following May.
Only Manchester City have had a relatively clear run to title success, although it took four years between their minted owners taking over and a first Premier League trophy, while a second triumph three months ago followed a second-place finish in 2012/13.
Does this all mean Liverpool will win the title for the first time in a quarter of a century? Either way, 11/1 odds on such an outcome just do not add up.