Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville says Liverpool’s second-place Premier League finish last season was a ‘miracle’.
After ending up in a disappointing seventh in 2012-13, Liverpool exceeded all expectations in Brendan Rodgers’ second campaign in charge, riding the goals of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to mount a serious title challenge.
Narrowly missing out on the top-flight crown to Manchester City, Neville believes, however, that his former rivals significantly overachieved in 2013-14 and maintains that they will struggle to replicate that success in the new campaign.
‘I don't think Liverpool will win the league,’ he told Sky Sports News. ‘I think it was a miracle, really, to get to the point that they did last year.
‘I think they were absolutely at full pelt last year, 100 percent. I thought at one point, with three weeks to go, that they were going to win it because the momentum was with them and the performances were outstanding, but they just fell away at the last.
‘Success this year for Liverpool, for me, would look like a Champions League finish, getting to the knockout phase of the Champions League and doing well in a domestic cup.
‘That's not being patronising – I just think that last year was really an overachievement, and I don't see them being stronger than City and Chelsea.’
Following Suarez’s £75 million departure to Barcelona, Rodgers has made significant strides to improve his squad in all areas, spending around £90 million on Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi and Javi Manquillo.
With Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno also reported to be close to a move, and even more additions expected, it’s clear that the club expect to again be in contention among their rivals, despite Neville’s comments.