Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is confident that his team can challenge for the Premier League title next season, despite the heartbreak of the Reds narrowly missing out on the title last season.
The Merseysider’s have been written-off by certain sections of the media and it could be an interesting season for the Reds.
Liverpool have heavily strengthened their squad, but it has been suggested that the Reds are still short up front.
Last season Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez scooped all the major awards in the Premier League, as he plundered 31 goals. His £75million departure to Barcelona has left a big hole in the Reds team and the strikers goals will be badly missed next season.
Not only did he score 31 goals, he also got 12 assists in the Premier League, as the Reds fired home 101 top-flight goals. Those stats show that the Uruguayan contributed to nearly half of the league goals scored by Liverpool last season.
However, it could be argued that Liverpool had done pretty well in the five games that Suarez missed at the start of the season, with Daniel Sturridge taking up the mantle of lead striker.
The former-Chelsea striker enjoyed a very productive season and will have to continue that sort of form next season.
The move to Liverpool has really ignited Daniel Sturridge’s career. He has gone from Chelsea reserve to mainstay for both club and country in 18 months. Despite having an injury lay-off last season, Sturridge managed to score 21 goals and get seven assists as well.
The 24-year-old also formed a lethal partnership with Suarez, but proved in those first five Premier League games last season that he did not rely solely on the help of Suarez. This could be a big season for the former-Chelsea striker.
Sturridge is starting to show the attributes of a top striker. He has always had confidence in his own ability, but at times in the past it has came across more as arrogance. However, since he has been at Liverpool he has knuckled down and worked hard to improve his game.
He looks like a different player to the one that was so often overlooked at Stamford Bridge and seems brimming with confidence.
Liverpool’s first signing of the summer was that of England striker Rickie Lambert, who arrived from Southampton for a fee in the region of £4million. The 32-year-old scored 13 goals for the Saints last season and got ten assists, as the team from the south coast finished 8th in the Premier League.
It has been a dream rise for the Liverpool-born striker. He has admitted himself that he never thought he would fulfil the dream of playing for his boyhood club. The move to the Reds must have come as a surprise to the former-Rochdale striker, because I think it came as a surprise to most Liverpool fans.
Lambert is a late bloomer and will give his new team a physical presence. Lambert is not just a target-man though. He is a very intelligent football, who has proved over the past couple of seasons he can perform in the Premier League.
I would say he is a decent addition to the Liverpool squad. Lambert is a striker with Premier League experience, who will get and create goals and only cost a small fee.
However, he could never be considered to be in the same league as the departed Luis Suarez, as very few players are. It would be unfair to compare the England international with the former-Ajax star, but the comparison will still be made.
Liverpool recently failed in their attempts to strengthen their strike-force, when a bid for QPR striker Loic Remy collapse, amidst claims the France international failed a medical. The Hoops have denied that Remy failed his medical and claim the player is fit and healthy.
Remy would have added goals to the Reds attack, but he is still not the calibre of player that the Reds need to be winning the Premier League title.
The Liverpool squad as whole is likely to be stronger next season, but the simple truth is Luis Suarez will be very difficult to replace. The Reds still have time to bring in a world-class striker before the transfer window shuts and they certainly have the funds to do so.
Unfortunately though, world-class strikers are few and far between. Liverpool had arguably one of the best in the world and his old club now have to solve the problem of filling the void left by last season’s most prolific Premier League scorer.
Does Liverpool need to sign another striker?