Pre-season has nearly ended for the Premier League teams of 2018/19. Controversially, it also brings the end of the summer transfer window in England for the first time on the 10th August. The pre-season interviews are nearly over, the managerial mind games are in full swing and another exciting Premier League is on the cards. But who will be Premier League champions? Could it be Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp?
Is the Premier League Trophy Finally Heading Back to Anfield?
Ever since Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool in 2015, there has been a reborn feeling of pending success at the club. He has altered systems, inspired the young players within the team such as Trent Alexander-Arnold but, most importantly, not been afraid to make big money signings; something that is essential to challenge for the title in modern football.
All these aspects of Klopp’s time at Liverpool have left the fans optimistic about the future of the club. Last season was a great season for the Reds, going all the way to the final of the Champions League. They also secured Champions League football for the second season in a row, the first time since the 2008/09 season.
Transfers Could be Key For Title Push
A busy transfer window for Klopp brings further hope for the club, signing keeper Alisson for a record-breaking fee from Roma. They have also improved the midfield area signing Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho. These signings are all set to strengthen the weaknesses from last season and improve title chances.
The new transfers look good for Liverpool’s hopes for challenging for the title, but transfers aren’t the only aspect of the game, and throwing money at a club doesn’t always mean success. Klopp has now spent over £400 million since 2016 and is yet to win a trophy.
Although Klopp’s team look positive in making steps towards the future in terms of players joining, he also needs to be able to compete against football giants such as Manchester City on the pitch. City are tipped as favourites to retain the title, something Liverpool are eager to prevent. Klopp will have to conjure up something special with his squad to become champions, as the current holders broke numerous records last season, including a highest-ever points total in a season, reaching 100 points.
Liverpool Need to Compete Against the Top Five Clubs
The best chance to win the League in modern football is to beat the other top five clubs in the division; the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs. Picking up maximum points in these games can be the deciding factor come the beginning of May. With Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal strengthening their sides, and Spurs and Manchester plotting some last minute business in a busy transfer window, this may be even tougher for Liverpool to win the League after last season. Liverpool only managed to pick up ten points out of a possible 30 against the ‘top’ teams of the league, something Klopp will be eager to improve on. Some results were heavy losses, including 5-0 against City and 4-1 against Spurs.
Defensive errors and goalkeeping mistakes were to blame in some areas, but this will be Virgil van Dijk’s first full season at the club after signing last January so will have a bigger impact on the team after settling well. Loris Karius has seemingly been replaced by former Roma keeper Alisson, all positive things from Klopp to improve his chances of fighting for the trophy.
This pressure to succeed in big matches is something Klopp has been faced with for a few seasons now. In an interview with BBC, he optimistically states “We are close together with the fans and the team. It feels different. People were really ready to fight together until the final thing.” This inspired hope from the manager will surely rub off on the players, which could be the key for Liverpool to win the league.
Putting Teams to Bed Needs to be the Priority For Klopp’s Boys
Despite the importance of winning big games, you’ve also got to win the smaller ones. The Premier League is renowned for upsets week in-week out, where the ‘top’ teams drop points against smaller teams. Liverpool fell short against the teams that got relegated throughout the season. They only gained two points from West Brom, dropped points against Stoke City and lost to Swansea 1-0 at the back end of the season.
Problems with the defence and goalkeeping have arguably been solved, and for Liverpool fans they hope they can see solid performances from big players. Klopp seemingly understands the importance of consistency. He spoke to the BBC and explained “We need to play football and that is 80% of the season, if not 90%, the hardest work. The 10% is the day when you go bang, bang, bang and win 5-0. Wow. That is football.”
No doubt this means that Klopp has been working hard on tactics and training, coaching his players how to break down those difficult defensive teams to secure more points, after finishing 25 points behind winners Manchester City. He will be looking towards his midfield signings to help break through in games, especially with Shaqiri’s Premier League experience.
Positive Pre-season Gives Liverpool Fans Hope
Pre-season has been successful for Liverpool and a vital learning curve for the players and Klopp. It looks positive for the Reds’ title hopes as they have beaten big teams such as Manchester United 4-1. Klopp was aware in an interview that a good pre-season isn’t everything and his club needs the team spirit to carry through all the way. He says: “The first day is a testing day for the boys, so they have to show how hard they worked through the summer period.”
Liverpool have many positive things going on at the club, from the relationship between chairman and manager, manager and players all the way to the fans; connection with the club. But Liverpool are under a lot of pressure to provide this season, with other managers such as Jose Mourinho playing mind games and the media’s high expectations. If Liverpool can harness this energy into positive attacking football, and the new signings gel in with the senior squad members, Liverpool have as good a chance as any to claim their first ever Premier League trophy.