The steady climb up the first rise in the roller coaster that is the preseason is now over. Liverpool FC are about to head into the drop and careen into the ride that is the Premier League season. It's as good as time as any to make some serious and some not so serious predictions about what we will see over the next nine months. God, nine months. That's incomprehensibly long. Let's to it!
Jordan Henderson will not crack 10 goals: And you won't find a bigger Hendo fan than me. That's the target Brendan Rodgers has set for our midfield dynamo, but I don't think I see it. One, Henderson's opportunities to be the most advanced midfielder, as he was during the brilliant stretch when Allen and Lucas were behind him, are going to be more limited. The kind of tap-in finish we saw against Dortmund is just not a position he's going to find himself in that often when Coutinho or Sterling or Lallana or whoever else might be the sharp point of the diamond or triangle. That doesn't mean Henderson won't be vital or that he won't score, because he will. Let's say seven in the league and one or two more in the Cups. Work for you? Works for me I think.
Phillipe Coutinho will: Somehow the Brazilian maestro only scored five times last year, even though it feels like he attempts about 10 shots per game. Couts will get the radar a little more set this season, as well as being more the fulcrum of the side with Suarez gone. I doubt he'll find himself behind two strikers as much, instead being behind one (or three, depending on how you look at it). Should see him getting into the box more to poach.
Martin Skrtel will score more in the opposing net than his own: We hope.
Adam Lallana probably won't score until November, but he'll play better than he's getting credited for: Always happens to one signing who doesn't tear a hole in the Earth within his first few appearances and thus critics come out ready to fire.
Liverpool will get out of its Champions League group but only by the skin of their teeth: They don't know another way, generally.
A short League Cup run but a deep FA Cup run: This is based on nothing but a feeling. Rodgers has made it clear he wants a trophy this season, and an early exit in whatever sponsor Cup will see him go hogwild in the FA Cup. Not saying they'll win it but they'll make a decent stab at it. It's the one blemish on Rodgers's record so far, as Liverpool have generally been terrible in the cup competitions.
Fabio Borini will stay, and we'll be glad he did: He's easy to deride, but the other options out there as a support striker to fill in for Sturridge or Lambert aren't really all that much better. I heavily doubt Liverpool will be able to attract a top level forward to play alongside Sturridge, and I don't think they need to. Borini was a figure of fun in his one year at Anfield, but the thing is he makes all the right runs and never stops moving so he does open up space for others. He started to see that rewarded at Sunderland last year, and he'll be more rewarded at Liverpool.
Liverpool will not win the title: Sorry, though I desperately want them too. Despite how close it ended up being Man City are still the superior side, and Chelsea probably are too (though I can see that Diego Costa signing going a complete balls-up which will be hilarious). While it's easy to say "The Slip" cost Liverpool the title, their inability to get any points at Arsenal, City, or Chelsea looms larger. Can you see them doing so this season?
Arsenal will look great until 2015, when everyone will get hurt and be out much longer than anyone thought they should be: Because that's their thing, y'see.
ManUre will be improved... until Rooney or Van Persie get hurt again.