A third league loss of the season at West Ham has left Liverpool with plenty to do if they are to play their way back into the Premier League title picture.
The Reds slipped to 25/1 in the race to hoist the most coveted prize in the English game after going down to a 3-1 defeat at Upton Park, in the aftermath of which Sky Sports expert analyst and former Anfield favourite Jamie Redknapp moved to rule them out of the running, stating:
“I don’t put Liverpool in the equation to win the title, I never have to be honest.
I never did because as soon as they lost one of the best players in the world and the best player in the Premier League last season (Luis Suarez) it makes it impossible.”
In addition to the loss of Suarez, Redknapp also cites Liverpool’s lack of leaders on the field as a massive factor behind their struggles.
But writing them off so suddenly is a dangerous game to play, a statement that these reasons will support:
Fewer people gave them a chance last term, yet they still came within a home defeat to Chelsea of winning the Premier League.
After losing at Stamford Bridge in the final game of 2013, the Reds were fifth in the table, two points ahead of Manchester United and Tottenham and six back from leaders Arsenal.
Their top-four credentials were called into question at this stage, but a barnstorming second half of the season saw them come desperately close to a first top-tier title since its 1992 rebrand.
Very squads boast the quality in depth as the Reds.
A massive summer of comings and goings always meant that toils in the opening exchanges were inevitable, while as Redknapp points out, replacing Suarez would be a near-impossible task.
In Mario Balotelli, though, they have a forward who scored at a better goals per minute ratio than the Uruguayan last season, so it stands to reason he can contribute at least half of his predecessors 31 strikes from the previous campaign if he stays fit.
Fellow newbies Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic are still acclimatising to the complex attacking system Brendan Rodgers’ team employ, but once they’ve cut their teeth, the forwards won’t be wanting for chances.
Their leaky defence will get better.
Suarez’s goals overcompensated for a substandard backline last season and, in absence, that defence hasn’t as yet shown any marked improvements of yet.
Their two full-back acquisitions had never played outside of their native Spain prior to this campaign and will obviously need time to settle, while the potential arrival of Victor Valdes will instil further solidity.
Installing a specialist holding-midfielder (ie Emre Can/Lucas Leiva) in place of Steven Gerrard will also see rewards reaped.