Kenny Dalglish 620
Downing’s arrival will perhaps be key, the England international providing a genuine width spotted only fleetingly at Anfield during the past decade. He will be expected to provide the ammunition for Suarez and, in particular, Carroll.
How Liverpool utilise Carroll will prove interesting. Some of their most enthralling displays under Dalglish last season, such as the 5-2 win at Fulham, came when Carroll was sidelined, and it’s difficult to see how his style of play fits into the fluid, swift passing game that wowed Craven Cottage.
To be fair, though, Liverpool didn’t see the best of Carroll last season with the striker hampered by injury. Rested and recovered, he was leaner and sharper during pre-season and his powerful attributes gives Dalglish a unique weapon the manager will be keen to exploit.
If Henderson, while undoubtedly over-priced, is evidently one for the future, Adam’s passing and dead-ball prowess should provide Steven Gerrard scope to once again operate further forward. The skipper endured a trying last campaign, the injury problems from which have already spilled over into the new term.
Gerrard has shouldered the weight of expectation at Liverpool for so long that it was inevitable he would buckle at some point.
But if Dalglish’s side suggested they can still prosper without the skipper last season, the removal of that particular burden should be blessed relief and help prolong Gerrard’s reign as the club’s best player.
Yet it’s encouraging even that tag is under threat in the form of Luis Suarez. The Uruguay striker hit the ground running since his January arrival, and his summer success at the Copa America will further bolster confidence, although Dalglish will be mindful of burnout in the coming months.