Daily Debate: Can Reds replicate success?

With Luis Suarez off to Barcelona, two TEAMtalk writers debate whether Liverpool can match their 2013-14 success this coming season.

Last Updated: 15/07/14 at 10:57 Post Comment

Daniel Sturridge (right): Has lost his strike partner

Daniel Sturridge (right): Has lost his strike partner

In Daily Debate, two TEAMtalk writers give their views on a hot topic and then invite readers to decide who has put forward the best argument.

You can vote for your winner using the story comment facility at the bottom of the article, or by declaring your support on Twitter.

Can Liverpool repeat 2013-14 heroics?

Liverpool came within two points of ending their long wait for a 19th league title last season, eventually finishing second to Manchester City after dropping crucial points against Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the final four games.

There is hope on Merseyside that Brendan Rodgers can re-establish the Reds as regular Premier League title contenders, but the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona leaves a huge hole in their attack.

Rodgers is set to follow up the capture of Rickie Lambert and Emre Can with the near-£20million signing of Lazar Markovic - and there is still plenty of cash left in the kitty.

However, with their best player now gone, can Liverpool challenge quite as strongly for the title this coming season.

James Marshment and Mark Holmes have their say...

James Marshment (@marshyleeds) - Yes

There's no doubting that Suarez's departure will leave a near-impossible gap for the Reds to fill, but like Keegan, Toshack, Rush, Dalglish and Torres before him, the club, simply put, will continue to thrive without their talisman.

Although there'll be raised expectations on Anfield on the back of last season's oh-so-close title challenge, Brendan Rodgers will have learnt plenty from the experience.

Rodgers has shown himself to be a proactive, rather than a reactive manager, and he'll already long have drawn up a plan for Liverpool's playing style post-Suarez.

His early captures in the transfer market have been impressive to say the least, but I think their biggest piece of business is still to arrive, with rumours of an interest in Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuain looking particularly exciting.

Although neither, admittedly, quite fit into the top echelon of footballer that Suarez undoubtedly now finds himself in, Benzema especially has the potential to reach that level, should he arrive at the club. After all, who expected Suarez to become as good as he has when he first arrived from Ajax in January 2011?

OK, so those new signings may be hypothetical at this stage, but Champions League football means Liverpool will once again be a major draw for some of the world's top players.

Getting the balance right between the Champions League and the Premier League will, however, represent a major challenge for Rodgers. Admittedly, they will struggle to push for glory on both those fronts, the Northern Irishman is nobody's fool and he'll know that the priority will be to retain the club's place in the top four, and who knows, perhaps making another push for that coveted 19th league title.

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Mark Holmes (@Homzy) - No

With or without Suarez, it was always going to be difficult for Liverpool to improve on or even match what they achieved last season.

They have the Champions League to contend with this time around, and three of the teams that finished below them last season, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, have already made significant improvements to their squads this summer.

Liverpool have also strengthened, of course, but while Lambert and Can will certainly improve their squad, those players can hardly be compared to Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez.

Markovic is more of a marquee signing, but it's almost impossible for a team to improve after selling their best player unless they are able to replace him with someone even better.

That isn't possible for Liverpool. No matter who they sign to fill the Suarez hole, he will pale in comparison to the Uruguayan.

The temptation will be to spend the £75million on three or four top players in the hope that they can strengthen enough in other areas to offset what they lose out on up front, but Tottenham proved last season that it's a strategy that does not always pay off. And, frankly, Rodgers' record in the transfer record does not inspire confidence that the tactic would be any more successful for Liverpool.

There is no doubt that the club is moving in the right direction under Rodgers, and they are sure to excite again this coming season.

They're not going to suddenly drop out of top-four contention either but the loss of Suarez, the extra demands of the Champions League and the money being splashed by their rivals means it would take a monumental effort for Liverpool to match last season's second-placed finish.

State your support for Mark using the story comment facility below or by getting in touch on Twitter @TEAMtalk.

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