Premier League Preview: 10 Things You Need to Know about Liverpool

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1. Luis Suarez is gone
Did you hear about Luis Suárez being sold to Barcelona for £75 million? Did you? Did you also hear about the time he racially abused an opponent? Or that one time he bit someone? Or that other time he bit someone? Or that other other time he bit someone? (He does a lot of biting, is basically what we’re saying.) Did you hear that he can’t even set foot in a stadium until October? Did you hear about all that? Okay. Just making sure you’ve heard.

2. And Luis Suárez is irreplaceable
How would Barcelona replace Messi? How would Real Madrid replace Cristiano Ronaldo? The special form of panic that Suarez induced in opposition defenders is not something Liverpool can replicate with another player. Some players are just irreplaceable, and no (sane) amount of money can facilitate a like-for-like swap. For all his erratic behavior, Luis Suárez is one of those irreplaceables now.

3. So it’s time to move on
Liverpool FC  do no have have time to mope. They ended the 2013-14 season just two points short of winning their first league title since the days of the old First Division. Heading into that season a lot of people said they’d be lucky to finish fourth. The expectations this time around are way different. On top of that, they’re back in the Champions League for the first time since 2009-10 (when they crashed out of the group stages). Suarez helped re-establish Liverpool as both a title challenger and a Champions League team. But he didn’t do it alone, so it’s on everyone else at the club to keep the ball rolling.

4. Liverpool were the main buyers in the Southampton FC exodus
Brendan Rodgers has spent big, and spent well. Adam Lallana was the big get, as his dribbly skillset fits nicely into Brendan Rodgers system, but central defender Dejan Lovren is also a nice addition, as is walking feel-good story Rickie Lambert, who offers Rodgers the option of a target forward who can also play a bit. Like Andy Carroll but with a first touch. Here’s a reminder of what Adam Lallana brings to the wings:

5. Rodgers also made a couple of smart off-shore purchases
Getting young German midfielder Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen was a coup. This is a guy Bayern Munich were planning to buy back once he’d matured, but Liverpool jumped ahead of them so now Can’s zip and energy will buzz around Anfield instead. And,in what is surely a dark horse candidate for biggest steal in this transfer window, Liverpool also snagged tricky long-haired Serbian winger Lazar Markovic from Benfica. Feast your eyes on his talents:

6. Anfield is becoming the place where stars are made
It’s worth noting that Suárez wasn’t a Messi/Ronaldo-level big-name player when they bought him from Ajax. Now he is. Two years ago, Daniel Sturridge was taking up oxygen at Chelsea, and last season he scored 21 goals in the Premier League, which would’ve won him the Golden Boot were it not for You Know Who [editor’s note: Voldemort?]. Raheem Sterling was a snotty little brat who was known more for legal troubles off the pitch—and then he helped lead a 5-0 rout of Tottenham. The club tried and failed to send Jon Flanagan out on loan, and now they call him “Scouse Cafu.” Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe Brendan Rodgers is actually a wizard. But something’s going on at Anfield.

7. None more so than Raheem Sterling
It’s worth remembering that Raheem Sterling is only 19. Because this summer, he quickly became central to what little hope England had of breaking down an opposition defense. The latter half of last season, Sterling became more than a winger. He started operating at the tip of a midfield diamond as a sort of rapid, direct #10, complete with demonically dangerous through balls played while sprinting in top gear. Look out for more of that this season:

8. Steven Gerrard needs to turn the page

Alright, let’s just get this out of the way. Here’s the video.

So, yes. Steven Gerrard slipped after a bad first touch and the mistake led to Chelsea’s opening goal in their 2-0 win at Anfield. And yes, it came two weeks after the Reds beat Manchester City to claim pole position in the title race when Gerrard told his teammates that “this does not slip.” (Irony!) And yes, the loss essentially cost them the title. We’ve all seen the Vines. We’ve all heard the song. Go ahead and get the giggles out of your system. Come August 17th, none of it will matter.

9. Brendan Rodgers is ahead of schedule
Brendan Rodgers came to Liverpool with the task of getting the side back into the Champions League within three seasons. He did it in two. Along the way, he came very, very close to winning the title. Rodgers is building a team that is young, full of talent, and currently playing some of the most thrilling attacking football in Europe, full of relentless pressing and high-speed counterattacking. But they have a lot of work to do, and now they have a big target on their backs.

10. Will I ever walk alone?

No. No you will not.

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