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How does Liverpool's start to the 2016/17 campaign compare to last season?

How does Liverpool's start to the 2016/17 campaign compare to last season?

Liverpool fans have had a largely positive 12 months. Jurgen Klopp’s first year in charge has revitalised the club, helping to transform them into Captial One cup and Europa League finalists, as well as one of the most exciting teams in the land.

Although there have been struggles for the German, the club as a whole is in an undoubtedly better place than when Brendan Rodgers departed the club after a draw with Everton. But just how do the starts to the season compare for Liverpool from last season to this?

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On the pitch, things are obviously much better. This campaign, Liverpool have defeated Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea, Hull and Swansea, picking up 16 points from the opening seven games of the campaign. At the same stage last year, the Reds had played one more game, and were a five points worse off, winning three, drawing two and losing three of their opening eight matches.

It is not just the results that have improved, though, but the performances. The Reds have played five games on the road in 2016/17, and have already picked up victories at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge. At home, they have scored nine goals in two matches, including hitting four past the champions at the new look Anfield.

This time last season, Liverpool’s performances were abject and poor. They started the season with twin 1-0 victories against Stoke and Bournemouth, as well as a decent point at the Emirates, but a 3-0 home defeat to West Ham and an abject defeat to Manchester United saw the pressure heap on Rodgers. He did manage one more victory, a 3-2 triumph at home to a dismal Aston Villa side, but draws with Norwich and Everton left Liverpool a long way from European football.

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That Aston Villa game represented a high point for Rodgers’ side in front of goal, as their ailing strike force managed just eight goals collectively at this point last year. The fact Liverpool had already bettered that total by their first home game of the season shows just how much the attack has moved on.

Defensively, the Reds have seemingly regressed this season, failing to keep a clean sheet thus far in the Premier League. But taking out the Arsenal game at the start of the season, and the 2-0 defeat to Burnley, they have conceded a solitary goal in every game this season. Last season’s Reds were harder to break down initially, keeping three clean sheets, but conceded three goals to West Ham, Manchester United and Aston Villa, none of whom were prolific last campaign. With a better attack, things are much better in this department.

Klopp’s squad is also much stronger than the options that were available to Rodgers. Some of this is down to his excellent management, which has seen previous flops such as Divock Origi, Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren flourish, but also adding excellent players in the transfer market like Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Joel Matip.

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Rodgers’ Liverpool rarely looked comfortable without Daniel Sturridge, but the Englishman now struggles to get into the German’s starting eleven, showing just how far the squad has come on. Up front, the Reds have real competition for places and real cover, meaning that injuries and suspensions are not as much of a fear as they were last campaign. They have already had games without the likes of Coutinho and Firmino and it has not tempered the winning momentum. Things look much more positive.

In conclusion, the Reds are in an all round better position. They have a better attack, a more consistent defence and a far better squad. Last season, they already looked well out of the race for the top four at this stage, this campaign, there is talk of a title charge. Things could not be more different after Klopp’s first season in charge.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Anfield BR

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