Three reasons Liverpool can challenge for the Premier League this season
Liverpool are historically one of the most successful football clubs in the world yet there has been very little for supporters to cheer about in terms of silverware over the last half decade.
It is 6 years since the club won a major honour and it has been 28 years since Liverpool were crowned as Champions of England.
However, that unwanted run may just be about to come to an end.
Liverpool have made significant strides forward under the stewardship of Jurgen Klopp which culminating in a top-four finish last season whilst also reaching the final of the Champions League. The charismatic German has continued to improve his squad over the summer and he has undoubtedly got the club moving in the right direction.
Here is why Liverpool are capable of challenging for the Premier League title this season.
Retaining Mohammed Salah
When Liverpool confirmed the signing of Mohammed Salah in the summer of 2017 for a fee of £34 million there were few that envisaged the impact that the Egyptian winger would have over the subsequent year.
The 26-year-old had previously experienced an unsuccessful spell in English football with Chelsea four years earlier.
He failed to make any real impact at Stamford Bridge but did make his mark in Italy with Fiorentina and, more noticeable, Roma where he began to emerge as one of Europe’s most promising young wingers.
Salah was nothing short of sensational in his first season at Anfield and had a major influence as the side finished in the top four and reached the final of the Champions League.
He scored 44 goals across all competitions, matching the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in terms of his exploits in front of goal, and finished the campaign with a host of prestigious individual awards and honours.
Arguably Liverpool’s most important piece of business this summer was persuading the Egyptian to sign a new long-term deal with the club.
The media were speculating over whether he would move to a European superpower during the close season and it would have been easy for him to secure a big-money move back to the continent.
By retaining Salah’s services Liverpool have ensured that they have one of the stars of the Premier League on their books whilst also sending a signal to their rivals that they will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
If the Egyptian can replicate his goal scoring exploits from the previous campaign in the season ahead then Liverpool will be in with a genuine chance of challenging for the title.
A positive, attacking playing philosophy
There is little doubt that Jurgen Klopp has implemented a dynamic, positive style of play at Anfield which makes Liverpool one of the most exciting and aesthetically pleasing teams to watch in the Premier League.
The side play with pace, energy and power that is combined with individual technical brilliance, creativity and innovation in the final third that makes them an intimidating force when going forward.
Last season Liverpool scored 84 goals in the Premier League, only Manchester City found the net more often, and scored in excess of 100 goals across all competitions.
From an attacking perspective Klopp’s team are extremely difficult to stop and the forward line has been further improved over the summer following the arrivals of Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.
The team is full of creativity and the firepower that Liverpool will have at their disposal in the forthcoming season is second to none.
However, it is Klopp’s positive playing philosophy and style that sets Liverpool apart from some of their rivals.
The German goes into every game looking to win and that positive, attacking mentality is in stark contrast to what Manchester United employ under the guidance of the pragmatic Jose Mourinho.
It is this attitude that make Liverpool such a threat and it enables supporters to go into every game exited about watching their side perform.
Shrewd business in the transfer market
Since Jurgen Klopp was appointed in October 2015 Liverpool have spent over £400 million in the transfer market with a large percentage of that money being spent in January and over the summer.
It is clear that the club hierarchy are determined to facilitate the growth and development of the team and this has been clearly demonstrated by the significant financial backing that they have given their manager.
The fact that Liverpool are now investing large sums of money in new personnel firmly underlines the belief that the club is capable of matching their title rivals when it comes to competing in the transfer market.
However, Klopp has also spent the money wisely and he has made a number of shrewd additions over the previous six months.
Although Liverpool have undoubtedly made progress ever since the charismatic German walked through the door at Anfield, the ability of the team to win silverware has been undermined by defensive frailties.
The club has not had a dominant, commanding central defender since Jamie Carragher’s retirement whilst the absence of a top-quality goalkeeper has also been an ongoing issue.
During the last two transfer windows Klopp has moved definitively to address these issues.
Suddenly Liverpool’s backline appears to be much more imposing than in previous seasons.
Klopp now has a world class central defender leading his backline in the form of van Dijk whilst Alisson, who was selected over Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson for Brazil at the World Cup this summer, is the top-quality stopper that the club has been desperate for.
It has been relatively easy to identify prominent weaknesses in the Liverpool squad in recent years, yet it now appears that Klopp has now built a team that has no obvious flaws.
There is a wealth of talent throughout the current side and there is an abundance of strength and depth for the German to call upon throughout the forthcoming season.
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