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Liverpool: 2011 Team Preview | EPL Betting Odds

English Premier League – Liverpool 2011 Preview

Fans are clamoring for this year to be the one for Liverpool to finally end their drought and win the Premiership. Indeed, it has been over 20 years since the Reds last achieved such a thing, but the team has been right there nearly every year contending for top honors.

Odds to win Premiership outright 11/1

This year, ownership has informed newly hired manager Kenny Dalglish that anything other than qualifying for the Champions League would be a let down, and it seems the manager must do so to keep his job. The side will have one club in their site: Manchester United; well, that’s according to their owner.

The Reds have sparred nothing in their quest, going after big players in the transfer market over the summer, accumulating key players left and right. While its yet to be known whether they are making the right moves, it’s clear to see that they have spent a great deal of time stockpiling their engine room.

Stewart Downing was shipped over from Aston Villa, and is perhaps the biggest addition in that crop of midfielders. Downing adds a crossing ability that the team lacked enormously last year, and he should help improve their goal count.

The squad also received a couple of very young midfielders in Charlie Adam and Jordon Henderson. Henderson is the most intriguing of the two, and many are calling for him to get extra time on the field because of his dynamic play. Even critics are applauding the acquisition as the best of offseason, but Downing will no doubt make the most impact. [ad-3678122]

The Reds, who already had a few midfielders on the team, will need to find something to do with Dirk Kuyt, the team’s most prolific scorer with 13 goals last year. I suspect that they plan of moving him forward in hopes that he can be on the receiving end on Downing’s crosses, is part of Dalglish’s strategy.

In contrast to a bolstered midfield, the Liverpool strike force is perhaps the weakest link for the team, and it would have helped the club greatly if they were to have picked up a key option up front.

Meanwhile, the defense is solid, but they do have holes.

Defender Jamie Carragher is the side’s most seasoned defender, but many think that he is over the hill and doesn’t have anything left in the tank. However, the team has surrounded the veteran with youth including Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel. Johnson has confessed to wishing he played more offense, and Skrtel commits to many fouls. So it will be interesting to see how the trio perform as a unit.

Finally, keeper Pepe Reina, gave up too many goals (44 in 38 games) for them to be considered for the Champions League last season, and if they want to reverse that outcome in 2011, Reina will have to elevate his play.

Matt’s Liverpool Prediction:

The Reds appear to possess many of the weapons needed to solidify a Champions League finish, but to expect anything more would be delusional.

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