Three concerns Liverpool have ahead of the new season

A big season lies ahead for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool after a series of disappointments over the last year.

The new season is almost upon us and for Liverpool it is a big one after another huge summer at the club - and potentially a career defining one for Brendan Rodgers.

The club has to move on without Steven Gerrard - which will be a weird feeling for any Liverpool fan, especially those who have grown up following the Reds through the Premier League era, while Raheem Sterling left on terms that weren't the best.

There are concerns for the Reds, and not just the seven players who have joined the club this summer and need to bed in. Some of them are carrying over from last season as they look to end their three-year wait for a trophy, and return to the Champions League.

Here are three:

Defending still a problem

You only need to look at the goal Liverpool conceded in the 1-1 draw against Malaysia XI as Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren got themselves in all sorts of trouble - but there is one positive in that the side have managed to keep two clean sheets during this pre-season so far. 

Defensively Liverpool haven't been great for the past two seasons in particular, though there was one spell during the last campaign where the side seem to have tightened up. It looks as though Liverpool will go into the new season with a back four - rather than the back three which seemed to be the meaner of the options available to the side.

Defensive midfield

Linked to the defensive problem but it seems that Jordan Henderson and James Milner are certain starters for the opening day trip to Stoke City - with a holding midfielder in the middle. Lucas Leiva seems the obvious choice but always needs to get a few games under his belt before we see anything like his best, while Emre Can seems to have the capabilities to play that role but has rarely been used there. 

Two most prolific signings have yet to play two weeks before season starts

Liverpool have spent in excess of £60 million on Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino and they have yet to kick a ball in anger in a red shirt yet.

Of course, this is not the fault of the club as the Benteke deal was done after the departure of Sterling, and Firmino has been on international duty representing Brazil at the Copa America.

Philippe Coutinho - last season's stand-out player - and Emre Can have both been away representing their respective nations and are seen as important players. It is hard to suggest that all of these players should hit the ground running, and all four players could be key. There is a lot of reliance on other members of the squad who may not be regarded as the key personnel.

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