Liverpool legend Steve McManaman believes that Manchester City and Chelsea are in a better position than the Reds to win the title this year, and that a top four finish would represent a good season for Brendan Rodgers' side.
McManaman, who played for Liverpool in the 1990's, says the club have done some excellent transfer business this season, but are still some way off competing with Chelsea and City for the Premier League title.
“Like most Liverpool fans, I’ve been really impressed by the business they’ve done,” McManaman said.
“It has made the squad a whole lot stronger and that’s vital in order to cope with competing on four fronts. They have looked very sharp in pre-season and the main target this season has to be finishing in the top four.
“If Liverpool achieve that it will have been another great season. Some people will argue that having finished second last season, if Liverpool come third or fourth they’re on a downward spiral.
“But I don’t look at it like that. It will be harder this season. Liverpool played 43 games last season. If they advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League they could find themselves playing 60-odd this season.
He added: “It’s tough to suddenly go from 40-odd to 60-odd games with all the extra travelling that involves. In terms of revenue and gaining experience, it’s crucial Liverpool stay in the top four.
“The likes of Chelsea and Manchester City currently look that bit better equipped to win the title. They haven’t rested on their laurels, they’ve spent big money this summer too.”
Liverpool’s kitty for their summer of arrivals has been largely funded by the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
As such, the squad is undoubtedly stronger now – with seven new additions already made at Anfield and more expected to come – but the loss of their talisman is likely to have a negative effect on the team.
And if, as expected, it does then their position in the top four, which they have strived so hard to win back, looks vulnerable.
Chelsea have strengthened this summer by signing Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis – making them the bookies’ favourites to win the title, whilst Manchester City have added some more quality to a squad which is already littered with stars.
Those two clubs look certain for a top four finish, but the sides who finished behind Liverpool last season also appear to have improved.
Arsenal have brought in Alexis Sanchez in arguably the most exciting transfer of the summer so far, Tottenham Hotspur’s appointment of Mauricio Pochettino is a cause of optimism and Everton’s summer recruitment has been excellent.
Of course, there is also the small matter of a resurgent Manchester United. The Red Devils have impressed everyone over pre-season under new boss Louis van Gaal and will surely pose more of a threat to the Champions League slots than they did last year.
It means that competition for places in the top four of the Premier League looks as competitive as ever and McManaman's statement that it would be a successful season if the Reds got there certainly has credence.