With Tottenham tying against Chelsea, Leicester City officially are this year’s Premier League champions. So already the question is raised: Which teams will be able to fight for the league title next season? Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and maybe even Leicester again are surely candidates that appear on this list. And then there is Liverpool, a team with high expectations that have not been met at all this season in the Premier League. And I do not think they will be met next season either.
3Where’s the Leader?
First of all, the Reds are missing a real leader. The gap that Steven Gerrard left has not been closed yet and especially in dire situations the team seems to lack the ability to give everything they have for the win. Henderson has the potential to become this leader, but he only played half the season due to several injuries.
With constantly switching captains, there is no one to push every player to his limit and turn around the game. There are exceptions of course, like the 4:3 win against Dortmund after being down 1:3 or the 5:4 victory over Bournemouth, but in general, there were some close games that possibly could have been turned around with more passionate play.
Another big thing Liverpool is lacking is consistency. They have shown their ability to fight head-to-head with the top clubs this season, while failing to beat teams like Newcastle, Crystal Palace or Swansea. Even if you win all of your games against your table neighbors, you will come short at the end if you do not collect the points from the underdogs.
Furthermore, there are only few players among their team who are young and talented enough to improve and develop a lot within the next months or years. This means without any transfers, their squad will not improve by itself, while other teams like Tottenham have a lot of players who have not reached their skill cap yet and will strengthen the team even more.
1So Many Injuries…
Finally, it is their injuries that hurt them a lot this season. Almost every player of their first squad has missed several games and the question is whether this will change next season. Was it just bad luck or is their fitness not at the level it should be for competing in four championships? On the “bright side,” it is unlikely that the Reds will play internationally next season, unless they win the Europa League. And playing in only 3 competitions would mean less strain for the team.