Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers brought in six new signings this summer but who will become his best starting XI this season at Anfield?
Formation: (4-3-3 or 4-5-1)
GK - Simon Mignolet
Undoubtedly the arrival of the Belgian stopper is one of Rodgers finest bits of business this summer – he was one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League last term with Sunderland and, at 25 years old, he’s only going to get better. I think he could well end up in the Premier League’s Team of the Year come May.
CD - Daniel Agger
Liverpool have strengthened very astutely in this department but, despite the arrivals of Mamadou Sakho, Thiago Ilori and Kolo Toure, I still can’t see anyone ousting Agger from the backline – he is a Red through and through and is a real general in the box.
CD – Martin Skrtel
Some felt the Slovakian dropped his form for periods last term but there’s no doubting his commitment and quality – perhaps Sakho’s arrival will unsettle him from the starting line up but I would imagine Skrtel will up his game this season in light of the competition.
RB – Glen Johnson
This is another position where there’s healthy competition for places but despite the emergence of Andre Wisdom and Martin Kelly, I still think Johnson’s top-level experience makes him the best option. Others may disagree but I still think he’ll start the big games if he’s fit – he’s the most reliable, ahead of the two youngsters who still have plenty of room for improvement as they develop.
LB – Jose Enrique
No one’s moving the Spaniard from his fullback position – he can still be inconsistent but his ability going forward makes him a huge asset to Rodgers going forward and I think the competition rom Aly Cissokho will ensure he fights hard for his place.
DM – Lucas
The Brazilian hasn’t had the best of luck with fitness in recent years but he’s still one of the most important members of the squad and having him available is a huge boost, not only to the manager, but for captain Steven Gerrard who really misses him when he’s sidelined.
CM – Steven Gerrard
The captain is still Head Boy; he’s still got legs left in him, still the best player in a red shirt on his day. His inclusion is a no-brainer. If he’s not available Jordan Henderson is a very decent understudy and deputy in central areas and he improved last season, which should mean he gets a decent share of first-team action as a reward.
AM – Coutinho
The youngster is probably one of my favourite players in the league and I’m expecting him to take a lot of plaudits this term. He showed his promise and flashes of his talent in his debut season but certainly he’s going to become Liverpool’s star playmaker over the course of the nest few years.
He needs to watch he doesn’t go missing in games like he did in the second half against Manchester United last weekend but, as he demonstrated in the first half, he’s a real threat to unlock defences and he’s the key to the frontmen’s success this term. Joe Allen is a great young talent but he did struggle to impose himself technically sometimes and I feel like Coutinho is better improvising that the Welshman.
RW – Victor Moses
The forward three positions are going to be interesting – I’m expecting a tussle that will keep everyone on their toes, especially with the World Cup coming up next year.
My gut instinct tells me Victor Moses could prove to be the loan star he’s definitely capable of being for the Red but Raheem Sterling is going to give him a very good run for his money on the right flank – he’ll want to book his place on the flight to Brazil and he’s got massive competition at international level too.
I’m just not convinced the 18-year-old will be able to demonstrate the consistency that Moses will – the Nigerian is physically more imposing and I think Rodgers is the man to get the best out of him. I believe Victor Moses’ time has come.
LW – Daniel Sturridge
You know he’s going to want to play through the middle and you know he’s in red-hot form at present and you know there’s a fight for a place in the England squad at risk but you also know Luis Suarez is always going to be ahead of Daniel Sturridge in the pecking order.
There is, of course, the potential for Suarez to drop deeper in Coutinho’s playmaker role or move to the flank but my guess is that Sturridge will necessarily move wide unless he moves to the bench which in reality, is also a possibility as the season progresses. Personally, I like his link-up play with Suarez but I think, as the season progresses, it’ll end up as an ‘either or’ situation.
In that case, Luis Alberto will come in on the left flank but, if it were a big game and I had them both available, I’d be putting Sturridge wide with Suarez up front as I think it'll take time for the 20-year-old signing to adapt to the Premier League.
ST – Luis Suarez
He stayed. He’ll want to play and who in their right mind is going to stop him? You just can’t leave a player of his quality out. It’s another no-brainer. There is the possibility to move him wide or deeper into that number 10 role but I think you always want your best finisher where he belongs – right by the goal.