Going into the new season, defending champions Liverpool still have the strong sense of airy dominance and are capable of invoking fear in their opponents come match-day. But with the coronavirus pandemic impacting them and so many football clubs, transfers have been hard to come by for the club from Merseyside.
Having lost out on Werner to Chelsea and haggling on the fee for Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich, it is proving to be a tough time for Jurgen Klopp who feels that strength is still needed in some key departments. So then naturally, the only question that remains is – can Liverpool successfully defend their Premier League crown?
Liverpool’s only transfer so far has come in the form of Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiacos for a deal worth 13 million pounds. The Greek left-back is expected to be a cover for first choice Andy Robertson and will look to give him a run for his money. The news suggests that they are also looking to sell Wijnaldum to Barcelona, which would then unlock their transfer for Thiago from Bayern. Apart from that Kristoff Ajer of Celtic has also been looked at for the centre back position. But all of these are currently only targets and no developments have been made so far.
Once again, the biggest threat comes from THAT formidable trio of Mane, Salah and Firmino – who will be hell-bent on outscoring oppositions and keeping the fluid pressing philosophy intact. They also have the likes of Origi and Oxlade-Chamberlain alongside relatively new recruit Minamino which completes a set of good squad options from the bench. Liverpool managed to score 85 goals in 38 games while losing only 3 games last season. But as they often say, “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles”. With the best defence in the league last season, the overall potency of the side lie in star players occupying key positions and once again, lead the charge to command the first position.
While it is hard to look at flaws of a champion side, the only deficits this team has is a slight lack of quality depth in some areas of midfield and defence. In defensive midfield and right-back, Fabinho and Alexander-Arnold would look to start most games. But were injuries to happen to them then the likes of young Curtis Jones and Neco Williams will be looked upon to play at the top level. Another weakness comes in the form of predictability and complacency, where previously Liverpool have lacked ideas and desire to finish games and instead ended up conceding goals first.
As unique as it may sound, none more than Virgil Van Dijk has had a phenomenal impact at Liverpool. The commanding Dutch centre-back has led from the back and scored from the front, making him the defensive leader that the Reds so long craved for. In the attack, Mohamed Salah will look to be the pace-filled dynamo weaving with great footwork and long-range goals to provide the impetus in Klopp’s 4-3-3.
Predicted table finish
2nd Place: Although they will be leading contenders for many experts, Liverpool might have a title race fight on their hands. With the transfer market so important and rivals strengthening, it is difficult to see them win the title with ease again like last season.
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