Last week, we took a look ahead to the battles for number-one supremacy expected at Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal this year, after each of the three 2013/14 top-four claimers bolstered their senior goalkeeping ranks by one this summer.
There’s been no such reinforcements at Liverpool, with the stopper spots in the squad remaining with Simon Mignolet and Brad Jones in spite of the raft of changes around them.
Liverpool’s Premier League clean-sheet line this season has been set at 11.5 by bwin.com, with 17/20 apiece available about the Reds managing under or over that mark.
Although Brendan Rodgers has brought in plenty of new bodies in defence, with left-back Alberto Moreno from Sevilla looking like a particularly important capture, there are plenty of reasons to believe they won’t quite manage 12 shut-outs.
First and foremost, they couldn’t manage the feat last year when they came a close second, and with Rodgers’ men unfancied at 11/1 to go one better this term, it’s clear that the consensus is that Liverpool have disimproved.
The Northern Irishman has brought Moreno, fellow Spanish youngster Javier Manquillo and Dejan Lovren into the defence, but the first two are risks, having never started a Premier League game, while the jury is out on whether the Croatian is truly top class.
Furthermore, Liverpool may find themselves having to defend with greater regularity with Luis Suarez taken out of the crack attacking unit of last season.
The Reds were able to break fiercely with Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge last term, but there are no guarantees that their gaffer will set up the same way now the Uruguayan has gone.
However, it’s in goal where Liverpool could really have a problem in 2014/15, with only Mignolet – whose saves-per-goal ratio last season was lower than Manchester United’s David de Gea’s, Chelsea’s Petr Cech’s, Arsenal’s Wojciech Szcesney’s and Man City newboy Willy Caballero’s – plus confirmed bench-warmer Jones, to call upon.
Liverpool are 9/20 to kick off the season with a win at home to Lovren’s old club Southampton, who are 31/4 to win at Anfield for the second season running.