Will Liverpool Be an EPL Contender this Season?
If the English Premier League season were to end today, your champions would be…Liverpool? Currently the only team sitting atop the league with 3 wins from 3 matches, including a thrilling victory over last season’s champions, Manchester United, has Liverpool finally ended their 5 years of suffering with a title challenge to come this year?
Fans will also delight in the knowledge that the team’s best player, Luis Suarez, has yet to even set foot on the pitch due to his biting suspension from last season. When he returns, Liverpool will be even better.
However, 3 games is a very short intro to the English Premier League season, and we would be wise to execute some caution before getting too excited about this team. This is Liverpool after all…
But manager Brendan Rodgers clearly has this team pushing in the right direction. The summer signings have adapted well, especially new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who has yet to even let in a single goal. Mignolet has been embraced by the Liverpool fans since his last-minute penalty save to preserve a win on opening day against Stoke City.
I think the fact that Liverpool has yet to let in a single goal is most impressive. They are the only team in the league that hasn’t conceded a goal, and their future is looking quite bright, especially with Luis Suarez set to return in October. It has all been going so well for this team that has recently been prone to silly mistakes and costly errors. Brendan Rodgers is starting to look like an absolute genius.
There will be challenges ahead though. Formidable left back Glen Johnson was injured in the Manchester United game and could miss the next several months. Meanwhile, striker Daniel Sturridge, scorer of all Liverpool’s 3 goals this season, has a niggling thigh injury and could miss time. Potentially without their top two strikers, Liverpool will have trouble scoring, though Sturridge’s injury does look to be quite minor.
Nevertheless, the EPL season is long and full of dangers ahead. How Liverpool responds to their first setback will greatly show their true capabilities. But with an experienced leader like Steven Gerrard in the heart of the midfield, anything is possible.
Another factor that will serve to help Liverpool is that they aren’t involved in any European competition this year. Taking roughly 10 games off of the schedule is a massive bonus to the players, who will have a much better time dealing with fatigue. While title contenders like Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United have to endure major midweek clashes in the Champions League, Liverpool’s players can rest up for the weekend fixture. This could have a major effect on the title race.
Although I would still be very surprised if Liverpool actually does contend for the English Premier League title this year, I have a strong feeling that they will be in serious contention for the vital 4th place position and a return to the Champions League. This season is clearly shaping up to be one with many surprises, and should be a joy to watch in the coming months. Let’s see what Liverpool is made of!