With the start of the new season only a week away, we take a look at Liverpool's prospects under new manager Jamie Carragher. The Liverpool-born manager looks set to play a 4-1-2-3, with either Lucas or Emre Can holding in midfield, and Coutinho out wide on the left. There are suggestions that Carragher will also look to play a narrow 4-4-2, with his front 3 fluid, and a strong midfield trio supporting wing-backs marauding down the flanks. Either system will likely be based on possession, and patient build up, although there are a number of players in the squad with the ability to change a game in mere moments.
Ahead of the opening game against Manchester City, bookmakers have been offering odds of 20-1 for Liverpool to win the title, with most expecting them to finish around 5th place. The most widely predicted top 4 includes Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, with Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton and Southampton thought to be the main contenders for a European spot.
At the other end of the table, Norwich, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Bournemouth are favourites for relegation, with bookmakers offering best odds of 1000-1 for any of those teams to lift the trophy come the end of the season.
It looks like Liverpool will be heading into the new season nursing a few injuries. John Flanagan is expected to be out for 5-6 months following a knee injury. Captain Jordan Henderson is nursing a heel problem which looks like it's going to keep him out for up to 7 weeks, while Daniel Sturridge is still out of contention for the next 2 months after his most recent hip problem.
Liverpool have strengthened significantly this transfer window, with Carragher driving a hard bargain, and sealing a multitude of clause-based deals to really maximise his transfer budget.
Thiago Maia - Santos
Position: Defensive Midfielder
Fee: Up to £17.5m (£15m over 4 Years, £2.5m Up Front)
Carragher Said: "Thiago is a huge talent, and I'm delighted that we've been able to bring him in this season - £2.5m up front is a steal, and he'll more than pay back the £15m over his contract term"
Fernando Muslera - Galatasaray
Fee: Up to £10.25m (£5.25m over 2 Years, £5m Up Front)
Carragher Said: "Goalie is one of the most important positions on the pitch, and I think now we have two players (Muslera and Mingolet) who are capable of performing at the highest level here - the competition for that starting spot will benefit the whole team."
Faouzi Ghoulam - Napoli
Position: Left Back
Fee: Up to £17.5m (£10m over 3.5 Years, £7.5m Up Front)
Carragher Said: "We've been crying out for quality cover at Left-Back, and that's what we got in this deal - between Fazoui and Alberto [Moreno], I have very few concerns about our left back position"
Aleksandar Dragovic - Dynamo Kyiv
Position: Centre Back
Fee: Up to £25m (£10m After 50 League Appearances, £7.5m Over 3 Years, £7.5m Up Front)
Carragher Said: I've often said in the media that Liverpool lack a truly World Class centre-back - I believe we've got one in this deal, and more importantly, Aleksandar has a huge future ahead of him in this game, as he is still young"
Dejan Lovren - Tottenham Hotspur
Jose Enrique - AS Monaco
Loan Deals (Confirmed)
Jordan Williams - Brentford
Kevin Stewart - Blackburn
Ryan Kent - Charlton
Jordan Rossiter - Sunderland
Pedro Chirivella - Dundee United
Jerome Sinclair - Aberdeen
Tiago Illori - Fiorentina
Harry Wilson - Patrick Thistle
Tom Brewitt - Forest Green
Brad Smith - Grasshoppers
Pre-Season was a mixed bag for Liverpool, as they adjusted to a new style of play. Disappointing losses to Atletic Bilbao and PSV were countered by wins against Stuttgart and the A-League all-stars, before stuttering performances against Teramo and Shanggang gave Carragher food for thought. In the final two games, he had opted to play some of his promoted youth players, but with less than convincing results. The manager doesn't yet seem to have a settled 11 in his mind, but with only a week until the start of the season, he needs to find one fast.