Liverpool have invested heavily in players since Kenny Dalglish returned to the managerial hotseat at Anfield and all those associated with the club are feeling positive ahead of the forthcoming campaign which kicks off against Sunderland on Saturday
Expectations are high but not ludicrous, with qualification for the Champions League rather than winning the Premier League title the target for most fans and here are three players who could have a big say whether they achieve their goal or not:
The 22-year-old arrived on Merseyside in January as the most expensive British player in history after Liverpool paid £35m to Newcastle for his services – a sum that has been universally accepted as being rather exorbitant for a player who had only really played half a season of top flight football.
However, while much of the focus has been on his price tag, it seems to have been forgotten that he remains a highly-promising centre forward who had drawn fair and favourable comparisons to one of the best centre forwards of the current century, Didier Drogba. A hugely powerful footballer, Carroll has the potential to strike up a devastating partnership with Luis Suarez. His main obstacle will not be his talent but his own fitness which has already seen his career at Liverpool stutter. Should he remain injury-free and start finding the back of the net on a regular basis, his price tag could well become less of a talking point.
Liverpool’s captain has been the heartbeat of the side for over a decade. Ever since he burst onto the scene in 1998, his dynamism has been the hallmark of his play with the form of the team often depending upon his presence on the field.
However, last season marked a notable change in the relationship with the collective responding to Dalglish’s tactics and flourishing in the second half of the campaign despite the skipper missing many of the games through injury. It is hard to envisage Gerrard being anything less than the immensely influential player we all know once again next season but it will be interesting to see whether he will remain the dominant figure that has symbolised the club over the last ten years.
The new £7m signing’s fortunes this season could be very much intertwined with those of Gerrard. With the Englishman sitting out the opening weeks of the season with yet another injury, Adam is expected to be the driving force in midfield in his absence.
Once Gerrard recovers conventional wisdom would predict that he would be restored to the starting eleven and it will be curious to note how – if he has performed well – Adam subsequently fits into Dalgish’s plans. Questions remain over whether the pair can play together in the same team with both occupying similar positions. Gerrard is unlikely to play the support striker role that he fulfilled when Torres was his team mate due to the strike pairing of Carroll and Suarez which could mean that one of the two dynamos are left twiddling their thumbs on the bench. With the Scot six years younger than his rival, he would appear to be the natural successor in the engine room and this season could just see the baton handed over sooner than expected should events go in Adam’s favour.