Armed only with the fixture list and the knowledge of where Liverpool ended the 2012-13 season, your crew of contributors here at The Liverpool Offside not-so-boldly went were all blogs go at the start of the season: predictions for the year ahead. Were we too cautious in our estimations, stung by too many years of mediocre success? Or were we too optimistic, drunk on the promises laid out by Brendan Rodgers? Or was the truth somewhere closer to the middle, as it so often is?
The fixture list threw us no curve balls this year, and the matches we flagged for special attention were both as good as we hoped them to be and as bad as we feared them to be.
- Stoke City at Anfield (Jake, Trev) — A match anticipated because it was the kick-off to the season, Stoke's visit to Anfield was bound to set the tone of the season one way or another. Simon Mignolet's penalty save became an early symbol for the team's togetherness, and the result was the club's first opening day win since 2008/09.
- Manchester United at Anfield (Trev) — Liverpool's first encounter with David Moyes' United ended in a 1-0 for the good guys and made it three wins in three matches for first time in twenty years.
- Arsenal at the Emirates (Conor) — Liverpool's first real test of the season tragically ended with a loss, but was a good yardstick by which to measure both how far Liverpool had come this season as well as how far they had yet to go.
- Manchester City at the Etihad (Ed) and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (Chuck, Ed) — The pair of late December matches at the end of a month packed full of games would be the second and third real tests for Liverpool. As with Arsenal, Liverpool didn't take any points from either match, but the encouraging performance against City showed Liverpool could tangle with the big boys at the top of the table.
- Arsenal at Anfield (Elizabeth) — Wow. So dominant. Such goals.
- Philippe Coutinho (Elizabeth, Conor) — Phil ended 2012/13 on an incredibly high note as one half of Liverpool's shrewd January transfer buys, but wasn't able to consistently replicate the same form over the length of the season.
- Lucas (Jake) — Lucas. Poor, poor Lucas. The hope that Lucas would boss the midfield and destroy lesser men was a dream cut short by injury and having his position usurped by his captain. Sad times.
- Kolo Toure (Trev) — Kolo played pretty much exactly the role he was supposed to: start when necessary, enjoy the bench without complaint the rest of the time, and provide a generally entertaining and amiable influence on the team demeanour.
- Daniel Sturridge (Chuck, Ed) — Only two of our resident clairvoyants managed to choose one of Liverpool's standout players of the season. There's little to say about Sturridge that hasn't already to say, but suffice it to say watching him as one half of the league's deadliest strike partnership was an absolute delight from start to finish.
Oh, how we failed. Few could have predicted Liverpool's final haul of 84 points, but some of us were clearly more pessimistic than others.
- Elizabeth: 68
- Jake: Not going to touch this one.
- Trev: 74
- Conor: 70
- Chuck: 68-70
- Ed: 70-75 ("optimistic in the extreme")
How did your predictions turn out?