Liverpool showed a vast amount of improvement last season, eventually finishing in the top four. However, can German manager Jurgen Klopp transform them into Premier League champions?
Jurgen Klopp joined Liverpool in October 2015, after a glistening and memorable seven-year spell with Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park. The 50-year-old replaced the famous “Yellow Wall” of Dortmund for the equally admirable “Spion KOP” of Liverpool.
Could he transmit his Bundesliga title winning form to the Premier League or crumble under the scrutinising eye of the public? He delivered last season, by finishing above Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton, to claim fourth place.
Liverpool dive into the 2017/18 campaign with fresh ambitions of clinching their first ever Premier League title. The reds have completed the signings of three players this summer but are keen to register more before the end of the summer transfer window.
Klopp has acquired the services of Dominic Solanke from Chelsea, Mohamad Salah from AS Roma and Andrew Robertson from recently-relegated Hull City. Another task of Klopp’s will be to keep hold of Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho.
The 25-year-old has been linked with a possible move to Spanish La Liga giants FC Barcelona. They’ve reportedly launched an offer of £90.2 million according to the Metro, which would make him the second most expensive player in history, following Neymar’s world-record transfer to Paris-Saint Germain.
Is there a better man to stop the rot than Jurgen Klopp? He temporarily halted Bayern Munich’s dominance in the Bundesliga by winning two successive titles at the Westfalenstadion. His energetic, passionate and heart on his sleeve approach has captured the Liverpool faithful and breathed positive energy into a previously despondent squad.
Brendan Rodgers ruffled a few feathers during his time at Anfield, which subsequently led to his departure. Despite finishing runners-up at the end of the 2013/14 Premier League season, the Northern Irish manager failed to build upon Liverpool’s title challenge and slumped to a sixth place finish.
It was another promising era, which ended in heart aching fashion yet again. Rewind to the 2008/09 season, Liverpool were narrowly pipped to the title under Rafa Benitez by their fiercest rivals Manchester United. It was another case of being so near and yet so far from their elusive Premier League title.
Liverpool are far from done in the summer transfer window
Liverpool have only currently only signed three players since the transfer window opened on 1 July. Dominic Solanke, who lit up the England’s under-20 World Cup winning campaign, joined from Chelsea for £3 million after a tribunal.
Although he’s one for the future, the 19-year-old could make an impact at Liverpool during his debut season. Solanke spent the 2015/16 season on-loan at Vitesse Arnhem and has scored ten goals in 15 appearances for the three lions’ under-20 team.
He made only one senior appearance for Chelsea during his two full seasons at the club. His impressive displays at youth level, which helped the blues to two FA Youth Cups and the UEFA Youth League, were undermined by the club.
Mohamad Salah joined from AS Roma for a club-record fee of £39.6 million. He also became the most expensive African player in history, which emphasises his growing reputation in European football.
The 25-year-old joined Premier League rivals Chelsea from Swiss club FC Basel in January 2014. He struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League and spent two loan spells in the Italian Serie A with Fiorentina and AS Roma respectively.
His initial loan-spell in Rome was made permanent at the beginning of the 2016/17 season for a reported fee of £13.5 million. Overall, the Egyptian international scored 34 goals in 83 appearances in all competitions for his former club.
Liverpool’s first ever Egyptian player scored four goals during their pre-season friendlies. Dominic Solanke also found the net on a regular basis in the off-season, converting on three occasions.
Scotland international left-back Andrew Robertson has also signed from recently-relegated Hull City. They’ve been craving a left-back for some time due to Alberto Moreno’s failure to adapt to the Premier League.
James Milner filled the spot at left-back last season but it was an obvious weakness despite Milner’s best efforts. Robertson is an attack-minded and overlapping full-back, who’ll provide a defensive and offensive threat.
In terms of outgoings, Lucas Leiva, Andre Wisdom and Kevin Stewart have departed the club. Fortunately, they’ve avoided selling any high-profile names, despite the persistent rumours of Coutinho joining FC Barcelona.
The Virgil Van Dijk transfer saga looks set to continue into the latter stages of the transfer window. There have been contrasting reports throughout the summer regarding his future and we are still none the wiser.
Liverpool are crying out for another centre-back, due to Dejan Lovren’s complacent performances. Joel Matip looks a promising player at the back but he’ll need another solid player to partner him in the back line.
What does this season hold for Liverpool?
They’ve struggled to secure signings in the transfer window which is a serious concern heading into the new season. However, I predict Liverpool will make more signings before September, which will enhance their opportunities of progressing further.
Can they win the Premier League title? Possibly but the league is incredibly competitive which makes it difficult for any team. The margins have been so tight in recent seasons and I expect it to be no different this season.
They need to bolster their defence, which was an obvious area of weakness last season. Lovren struggled, Nathaniel Clyne looks defensively weak and James Milner was played out of position.
If Liverpool can sharpen up their defence, they won’t have to rely on their lethal attack to guide them to success. It’s set to be another difficult season but they’re heading in the right direction.
Liverpool face Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim in their UEFA Champions League qualifier this month. If they qualify, they’ll need to invest to improve their squad depth, in order to combat the congested fixture schedule.
They’ll also be without Adam Lallana for the opening two months of the new season, which is a major set-back. He’s a key player in the final third but Liverpool have good depth in attacking areas.
I expect Liverpool to enjoy a successful season if they sign two top defenders before the end of the transfer window. Sure, they can form a strong title pursuit but Champions League qualification must remain their main priority yet again!