Its been a disappointing season for Liverpool all round. They lost Premier League’s best striker to Barcelona and they then lost Daniel Sturridge to injury very early on it the season- losing the strikeforce made the side unrecognisable from the one that competed for the title a year ago. They were looming in mid-table around November and crashed out of the Champions League prematurely too. Eventually, Brendan Rodgers got his side ticking again and they went on a 13 match unbeaten run (league). However, losses to Manchester United and Arsenal in the league and to Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final has put the gloom back in the red half of Merseyside.
The summer signings have been cited as one of the major reasons for the setback of this season. With the exception of Emre Can, none of last summera s signings have produced consistently or significantly. There is expected to be a decision on the future of the players that haven’t worked for the Reds, in the annual post-season review by the cluba s owners. Here are three players that deserve a chance to prove themselves next season, despite an underwhelming start to life at Liverpool.
Lazar Markovic (A?20 million arrival from Benfica)
Avram Grant said about the player, a I can say that apart from Ronaldo and Messi, Markovic is one of the best talents Ia ve ever seen at 19 years of age.a
The Serbian arrived at Liverpool and excited the faithful who had heard wonderful things from Portuguese Liga enthusiasts and pundits. However, Markovic has since failed to deliver for the Reds. Only three goals – one in the League Cup and two in the Premier League – have illustrated a disappointing campaign. It hasn’t helped that the winger has been made to play wing-back numerous times this season and has been subbed off far too many times as well. The Serbian can complain of lack of game-time, but in Rodgers’s defence, he hasn’t shown much excellence in the last three or four weeks. Unfortunately, he will be remembered this season for the ill-weighted pass to Raheem Sterling against Arsenal, that could have got Liverpool the lead and stopped a 4-1 humiliation, rather than a glorious shot that hit the post against Sunderland, that could certainly have been a contender for the goal of the season.
Markovic is only 20 and has a lot of time on his side. The fact that we have seen various incidents of players not doing well in their first season in a different league also adds to his case. He has shown his flair numerous times this season and if he gets going, he can become unstoppable. Competition from Jordan Ibe will only help him and with a full-preseason (something he lacked this time due to injury), the Serbian might prove his worth in his second season.
News of being just linked up with the Spanish full-back excited the Liverpool supporters who have seen the presence of a good left-back elude them since the days of John Arne Riise. When the stand-off with Sevilla was finally broken, Moreno’s arrival prompted much anticipation. The Spaniard delivered almost immediately and scored a delightful goal against Tottenham Hotspur in August. However, after that, his performances caught an eye for being defensively poor. A modern full-back is expected to have enough attacking abilities, but can’t take his defensive duties nonchalantly too. With Liverpool’s renaissance this season (in December), Moreno’s performances also became much better, but lately the defensive lapses have been far too visible.
He has featured 33 times for the Reds this season which means he is an important player but the former Sevilla player has divided opinion severely. There have been some links stating Liverpool will go for another left-back in the summer and the club owners will contemplate his future. While having two good players for a position is obviously good- considering Jose Enrique earns his living from social media and Jon Flanagan has been out of the team for too long- Moreno shouldn’t be discarded as a benchwarmer next season. The left-back has shown he is skilled for the position, he has also shown he has the desire to work hard and improve. The 22-year old should view the rest of the season and the pre-season as an opportunity to show the club he has the skills to be their number one for a long time.
Part of the Southampton trio that arrived at Liverpool in the summer, Adam Lallana has irked Liverpool supporters the most. His cost has obviously been the main factor in that. When a club spends that kind of money for a player, they expect to see immediate rewards. That hasn’t been delivered from the player. The narrative surrounding his first season has been the cost of the player, rather than the flashes of promise and plenty of following frustration through injury. He missed all of the preseason and the first few matches of the regular season with injury. He was ruled out for a few weeks in January following another injury, made his return and suffered another injury setback against Manchester United last month. All in all, it has been a frustrating season for the former Saints captain. He has managed four goals and three assists in the league, not an impressive number, but we must also put the lack of goals Liverpool have scored this season in the picture as well.
Lallana recently admitted his frustration over recurring injuries and desire to come back next season and justify his big money move, “It’s been quite frustrating if I’m being honest and I haven’t been out on the pitch as much as I’d have liked. I’m looking to come back in next season, get a good basis in with my fitness and kick on from there.”
Hopefully for the player, he will get a chance to do the same and justify the money Liverpool spent on him by reinstating himself in the team set-up next season and helping the club return to winning ways.