Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side look to be on the cusp of greatness and they’ve never had a side more capable of bringing home their first ever Premier League title.
Whether or not Liverpool will finally defy the critics and win the Premier League remains to be seen, however, after last seasons heroic Champions League run, optimism is sky high for the Reds.
The transfer window is far from shut and Liverpool are still likely to sign a few more key players, with this being said, we’ve put together a potential 2018/19 Liverpool XI that could finally bring a Premier League title to Merseyside.
GK: Alisson (AS Roma)
Liverpool have been linked with the Roma and Brazilian international all summer long and with Loris Karius failing to prove himself worthy of being the Reds man between the sticks in pre-season so far it’s looking ever more likely that Jurgen Klopp will have to invest in a tried and tested goalkeeper.
It had been suggested earlier in the transfer window that Liverpool had been priced out of a move for Alisson with his current side Roma wanting a fee in excess of 70m euros. However, after an unsuccessful World Cup outing with Brazil, it is very likely the Italian team will be willing to renegotiate a deal to suit both parties.
The goalkeeper position has been a problem for the Reds ever since Pepe Reina left the side and, if they are going to capture Premier League glory, it is certainly an area they need to drastically improve.
Alisson could be the missing piece of the puzzle that Liverpool fans have been craving.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold
The product of Liverpool’s academy came of age last season and proved he was more than worthy of a position in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI. Expect to be seeing a lot more of the talented teenager next season.
CB: Virgil Van Dijk
Liverpool’s record £75 million centre back settled into life under the enigmatic Jurgen Klopp with ease last season when he joined the Reds in January and showed why he is the man to lead the Reds’ defence onto bigger and better things in years to come.
It will be interesting to see what the Reds can achieve with Van Dijk at the heart of their defence for a full season after the Dutch international made such a difference when he was recruited mid season.
CB: Dejan Lovren
Many were calling for Jurgen Klopp to go into the market for a new centre back partner for Virgil Van Dijk but after Lovren’s World Cup heroics and performances in the second half of last season, does he need to?
Lovren and Van Dijk started to form a formidable partnership at the back for the Reds, and if Lovren can wipe out the little cracks in his game, they could be onto something great.
LB: Andrew Robertson
Robertson is the ideal full-back for Jurgen Klopp’s system and showed last season why the German boss was right in recruiting him to be part of the Reds set up.
The Scot became an instant fan favourite at Anfield for his direct play and never ending work rate, and if he can reproduce the form that saw him solidify his place as Liverpool’s starting left back next season, the Reds have got an exceptional talent on their hands.
One of Jurgen Klopp’s newest recruits was signed from AS Monaco this summer for £39 million. Fabinho brings a winning mentality to Merseyside having won Ligue 1 with Monaco a few seasons ago, and the 24-year-olds talent is undeniable.
It will be interesting to see whether Klopp opts for Fabinho or Jordan Henderson to anchor his midfield. However, in this side we’ve given the Brazilian newbie the benefit of the doubt; Expect big things from this man.
CM: Naby Keita
Arguably Liverpool’s most exciting signing of the summer, Naby Keita brings with him a reputation for being a fantastic midfielder and gained many accolades during his time at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.
Keita will stroll into the Liverpool line up next season and is one of the most exciting talents in European football. His game and style of play seem perfectly equipped to deal with the pace and physicality of the Premier League, and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares as the season progresses.
CM: Nabil Fekir (Lyon)
Will he? Won’t he? Nabil Fekir came agonisingly close to joining Liverpool at the start of the transfer window only to be denied by a last minute hiccup.
One thing that is for sure is Fekir’s desire to join Jurgen Klopp’s set up, and Liverpool are still in pole position to require the French internationals signature.
Fekir would bring the creativity and flare this Liverpool midfield has lacked since their Brazilian starlet Phillippe Coutinho left for Barcelona in January and, no doubt, would be a key player for them on their way to capturing their first ever Premier League title.
RW: Mohamed Salah
Salah will be the focal point of Jurgen Klopp’s attacking front three after his outstanding first season with the Reds.
The Egyptian international will be looking to prove that he isn’t just a one season wonder and pick up where he left off season.
Liverpool will need Salah to be at his very best if they want any chance of winning the Premier League and the PFA Player of the Year will be expected to be banging in the goals.
Another golden boot and player of the season award for Salah in the 2018/19 season? Why not.
LW: Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane often got overlooked last season with Mohamed Salah putting in out of his skin performances. However, the Senegalese international is a vital component of Klopp’s front three.
Mane compliments Salah and Firmino perfectly up top for the Reds and Liverpool will need him to be entirely fit all season if they are to challenge the Premier Leagues best.
ST: Roberto Firmino
The last cog in the Klopp front three; Roberto Firmino proved last season why he is one of Europe’s best strikers. Despite not scoring a heap of goals, Firmino’s work off the ball for Liverpool is what makes the team tick.
The Brazilian international has gone from strength to strength since joining Liverpool from Hoffenheim in 2015 and is proving himself to be the player Jurgen Klopp promised the Anfield faithful way back then.
Liverpool round-up: Champions League blow; Mignolet departure nears; Fabinho discusses challenge
Liverpool are left waiting to see which seed they will be in the Champions League draw
Liverpool will be hoping that PAOK will beat Portuguese side Benfica in their Champions League qualifying play-off as victory for the Greek side will see the Reds through to Pot 2 in the Champions League draw ahead of the Iberian outfit.
The draw will take place in Monaco on August 30, with Liverpool currently the highest ranked team in Pot 3 but behind Benfica, the only remaining Pot 2 team in qualification. It comes after Swiss side FC Basel were shockingly knocked out, allowing Liverpool to take up the spot of first in line to join Pot 2.
Simon Mignolet’s agent has spoken about his future
Simon Mignolet has been strongly linked with a move away from Anfield as he has fallen even further down the pecking order following the arrival of Alisson Becker, and it now seems that he may be third choice on Merseyside. Napoli are the latest club to be linked with a move before the transfer window shuts in Italy on Friday.
“We are in discussions with Napoli, but there is no agreement yet. In the end it is in their interest to find a solution. Liverpool want to keep Simon, but he wants to play in matches – and he should. He deserves to play for a big club. Simon is the best option for Napoli in terms of quality, even though there is a financial aspect to it.”
With time running out, all parties will have to get to work if they are to come to an agreement to allow the Belgian to leave. Much could depend on the future of second choice shotstopper Loris Karius, who has also been linked with an exit.
Fabinho has discussed the challenge of adapting to the Premier League
Summer signing Fabinho was only on the bench for the Reds on Sunday as they overcame West Ham United with a 4-0 win and the Brazilian has discussed the challenge that he faces having joined from Monaco.
“I think my performances have been good. It’s a different playing style than at Monaco; there were two of us in midfield there and here at Liverpool there’s three… I knew [my role] would change and I feel I’ve adapted well. When I came to Liverpool I knew this competition would exist in midfield and I think it’s really good for the team.”
Some fans were not convinced by his pre-season form but it remains early days in his Anfield career with plenty of opportunities ahead to prove himself in a holding midfield role.
One to Watch: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold oozes confidence vs West Ham
The 19-year-old picked up exactly where he left off last season.
He simply picked up from where he left season, oozing confidence as he patrolled the right side – camping himself in West Ham’s territory as Liverpool dominated the match.
The Englishman’s exceptional passing ability was the main feature of his performance.
He touched the ball 99 times and completed 58 of his 69 passes, with one delightful line-breaking pass standing out.
This ball, played through to Naby Keita as Liverpool broke forward in the build-up to their first goal, highlighted how dangerous Alexander-Arnold’s passing range when he is given time to raise his eyes and play diagonal balls through midfield.
This diagonal pass split West Ham’s entire midfield open, sending Keita on a burst that culminated in Salah putting the Reds 1-0 ahead.
It was symbolic of the mentality Klopp instils in his players, making them feel confident taking risks to set attacks in motion.
In this instance, the 19-year-old could easily have recycled the ball to a centre-back, but his team were rewarded for his courage in possession.
Defensively, he was also quite active, completing four of his five tackles and making a solitary interception.
Again, having West Ham camped in their own half suited Alexander-Arnold as he was able to press up the pitch and win the ball early in typical Liverpool fashion.
He continues to prove why he is so important to this Liverpool team, and highlights why Nathaniel Clyne cannot get close to first-team football.
Liverpool round-up: Klopp’s West Ham reaction; Klavan bid rejected; Lovren latest
Liverpool opened their Premier League campaign with a record equaling win over West Ham United thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane twice and Daniel Sturridge. The victory took the team straight to the top of the table with one game played and 37 more to go.
“A very good start, for sure. Yes, it’s a start – perfect as well because we won the game. For us it was not perfect, but really good. West Ham will play for sure a good season, but they are not then the Uniteds, Citys and all that stuff. That’s how it is, they know that and we know that and we have to be ready week in, week out for all the different challenges. Expectation – ours is the highest, but that changes nothing.”
The Reds were dominant up against Mauricio Pellegrini’s Hammers, who were never at the races. Having taken a two goal lead before half-time, Mane added a second before Sturridge scored with his first touch despite coming on as a late substitute.
Newcastle wanted Klavan
News has emerged that the Reds turned down a deadline day bid from Newcastle United for Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan. The report comes from The Chronicle, who say that former Anfield boss Rafa Benitez was keen on the central defender as a cheap option to strengthen his squad.
However, Jurgen Klpop decided that the team could not do without the 32-year-old, who is currently unavailable for selection due to an injury problem. That is despite the fact that his contract is set to expire in 2019, though Klopp has previously said he would like to retain his services.
Lovren set for weeks out
Dejan Lovren returned from the World Cup suffering from a stomach problem and remains sidelined by the issue, as Jurgen Klopp has now confirmed. The German revealed that the Croatian was already struggling towards the end of the season but played through the pain expecting that it would clear up when he had time off after the summer break.
“I am pretty sure it will settle in the next one, two or three weeks. In that time he can probably for sure train already, but not the full programme, so that will then take time. In the end, it is serious but not that serious, so it’s not that we need to be afraid that it will take him until whenever. In the moment he is not available, that’s true.”
However, that has not been the case and the coach has now revealed that he faces one to three weeks on the sidelines with the issue. Joe Gomez excelled in his place on Sunday and looks set to retain that position.
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