32 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses, 106 goals for, 27 goals against and 100 total points. Those are the stats behind Manchester City’s record breaking 2017-18 Premier League season. Pep Guardiola’s men accomplished the feat of having the most dominant season of all time and perhaps the most exciting albeit the Arsenal invincibles season back in 2003-04 never looks to be repeated. Someone would have to be crazy to bet on any team in the Premier League to claim the trophy from the blue half of Manchester.. Unless this person is betting on Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side is a major threat to the top 6 this season and all of them should be aware. At the beginning of each season, everyone places their bets on either Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham or Liverpool; (unless you’re crazy and actually bet on Leicester in 2015-16) and this just may be Liverpool’s year for the first time since 1990 when they last won the league title. Liverpool have been somewhat of a laughing stock at times in recent history, with the acquisitions of flops Ricky Lambert and Adam Bogdan a few years back showing in parallel fashion, the decline of the club. Liverpool have now won 7 games in all competitions to start the season for the first time in the history of the club, something that builds even greater upon their 3rd place finish last season to secure a Champions League spot.
Liverpool’s attacking trident of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino is firmly established as the most fearsome in the league, with substitute Daniel Sturridge making impacts off the bench despite his ability to start for many other teams in the English top flight. Allison in goal looks to be the first stable presence in goal since Pepe Reina’s departure to Napoli. Liverpool’s ever so fragile back line has now proved its worth after the purchase of the commanding presence that is Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutchman anchors the backline that features young stars Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson who look to be the club’s long term solutions at outside back. Van Dijk finds himself featuring alongside either Joe Gomez or Joel Matip at CB, but creates an effective partnership with either one, acting as the veteran despite his relatively new arrival to the club.
Jurgen Klopp has made some of the best transfer business in the past few years that has not been praised enough; he transformed his midfield into the high-energy “engine room” type midfielders he wants in his team and has effectively filled the void left by club legend Steven Gerrard. The arrivals of Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho creates competition within the midfield that will complement the likes of mainstays James Milner and Jordan Henderson. James Milner has proved his age wrong after his countless displays as the unsung hero in the squad prove his worth to the manager. Many teams have taken steps backwards, as seen with Manchester United since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsenal’s 8 year drought of trophies that ended in 2013. Liverpool have had an extreme drought since their title triumph in 1990 but with Jurgen Klopp heading the super team he has now created, 7 wins in a row is nothing to bat an eye at because this team is capable of much more and Manchester City will be hanging on to their trophy for dear life this season.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL RETURN?
Liverpool fans were on cloud 9 when they defeated Roma last season and earned themselves a surprise ticket to the Champions League final against Real Madrid. Liverpool fans don’t need to be reminded of Loris Karius’s nightmare performance but nonetheless should feel proud that they reached that stage of the competition when it was not expected of them. Things have changed.. Expectations have risen and Liverpool deserves to and will hope to be on their way back to the Champions League final with vengeance on their mind. What makes a team so successful domestically and in Europe is to have an effective rotation system. Liverpool’s transfer business has now made that possible as they can use the likes of Fabinho, Clyne, Sturridge, Moreno and Shaqiri to give rest to the team’s starting XI regulars, all while applying competition and pressure. When the European competition gets to a more important stage that requires the best players be on the field, it’s important to have the rotational squad be able to play soon after in the league and effectively grab a win against squads they cant afford to drop points to. With the likes of Premier League veterans Shaqiri and Sturridge that can lead the way in the league as needed and the normal attacking trident of Mane, Salah and Firmino staring in Europe , Liverpool’s return to the Champions League final could be a reality very soon.
By: Andrew Diefenderfer