Three reasons why Liverpool can finish in the top four
Shona Duthie assesses Liverpool's hopes of securing qualification for next season's Champions League
It has been well documented that manager Brendan Rodgers means business in this summer transfer window. Liverpool have addressed key problems from last season and filled the gaps that were needed to make them a strong squad. They have brought in the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Christian Benteke. The new arrivals underline Liverpool’s bid to seal a top-four finish. Last season, Liverpool struggled with injuries, match suspensions and heavy defeats as they finished sixth behind Tottenham. What Liverpool fans will be looking for this is how quickly these players can bond and play together. Liverpool could become a team that many will fear hosting. Many players already fear games at Anfield, but Liverpool need to improve on their away record. The players they have acquired all have great experience, and four out of the five signings already have Premier League experience. The Merseyside club have sent out a warning to the rest of the clubs in the league that they are gunning for a top four spot.
When on form, Benteke does more than enough to intimidate defenders with his strong presence in the box. The Belgian international has showed what he is capable of as when Tim Sherwood became manager of Aston Villa he scored 13 goals in the Premier League and the FA Cup. Benteke can certainly create chances in the box and he could give Liverpool what they were missing last season – a prolific goal scorer. Benteke does well in set-pieces due to his height and stance. This is what could also vastly improve Liverpool’s hope to finish in the top four next season. Liverpool already do well on the counter-attack and Henderson already provides a great penalty taker. However, adding free-kicks and corners into the mix, this makes them serious top four contenders with the addition of the 24-year-old.
The new Liverpool captain has all the skills and qualities to become a great leading man on the pitch. Last season, Henderson played a number of games while Steven Gerrard was out of action. This has provided him great experience for the role. Much to the delight of Liverpool fans, Henderson was given the role permanently after Gerrard left for LA Galaxy at the end of last season. Being in the team that secured second place two seasons ago, Henderson has had a taste of what it is like to finish in the top four and challenge for the Premier League title. The 25-year-old has the experience of playing in the Champions League and can clearly help guide his team to the top four. Liverpool fans want more from their team as they feel the club always deserves at least a top-four finish. Having played for The Reds since 2011, Henderson will want to make sure that his first full season as Liverpool captain finishes on a high.