Following the thrashing that Liverpool handed out to Manchester United at Old Trafford, it is obvious the Anfield club are one of the elites in Europe. The club that calls Anfield home has been at their best in every match this year and stand out as Champions League favourites.
Why Liverpool Are Champions League Favourites
Unplayable Mohamed Salah/Rampant Attack
Mohamed Salah has been at his absolute sparkling best so far this year for Liverpool. The Egyptian has notched seven goals in the UEFA Champions League and ten in the Premier League in twelve appearances. These incredible stats put his goal a game ratio at almost 1.5 between both competitions. Salah has been subject to transfer rumors for the last year because Liverpool have not extended his deal that expires in 2023. The club has been reluctant to pay him the exorbitant price that the Egyptian and his agent believe he is worth with the club hesitant to go against its standard policy of not giving long-term deals to players in their thirties. Salah is in the prime of his career though and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The former Roma man is in the conversation for the Ballon d’Or, and deservedly so. Liverpool would be midtable without his services instead of one point off the top.
As good as Salah is, the Reds also boast a plethora of elite attacking options that complement the Egyptian nicely. Sadio Mane has been and continues to be a menace to defences in England and Europe, putting up impressive numbers year after year. Diogo Jota signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers last summer and has taken off since joining the Reds, providing excellent cover when any of the front three need a rest. Then there is the ever reliable Roberto Firmino who always works hard and contributes to all facets of the game. The four stars mentioned and the rest of the Liverpool machine have scored twenty-seven goals in nine games. It is hard to beat any team when you must match three goals each game. Liverpool as a team are unplayable when at their best and Salah this year has been the perfect microcosm of that.
Do not be fooled thinking the attack is what keeps this well-oiled machine going. The elite defence is just as much of a contributing factor as the attack. The Reds have one of the best defenders and former Ballon d’or finalist Virgil van Dijk in their backline. The Dutchman has been a rock when healthy at the heart of the defence since making his much-heralded move from Southampton. Van Dijk usually pairs with Englishman Joe Gomez in the middle or Cameroonian Joel Matip. Whether it is Matip or Gomez in defence, the backline is always well drilled and compact because of the leadership and on-field presence of Van Dijk. In addition there is arguably one of the best right-backs in the world in Trent Alexander-Arnold, and marauding left back, Andrew Robertson. Both fullbacks not only possess elite defensive traits but also can bomb forward down the flanks and whip in pinpoint crosses into the box for the attack to feast on.
The defence has conceded less than a goal a game, with six in nine Premier League games. The record in Europe is less stellar, with five goals conceded in three games. Consider though that this was against AC Milan, Porto, and Atletico Madrid- three outstanding teams. Finally, the 2019 Champions League winners employ one of the best keepers in the league and the world with Allison in between the sticks. The Brazilian is just as confident with his feet as his hands and has been the starting point of many counter attacks with his distribution skills on show every time the former Roma keeper takes the field. The defence and the keeper provide Liverpool with the stability needed to be considered a Champions League favourite.
The German Genius: Jurgen Klopp
The last aspect of the team that makes Liverpool Champions League favorites is the presence of one of the best managers in the world in Jurgen Klopp. The German has transformed the Reds into perennial Premier League and Champions League contenders since taking over the managerial role in 2015. The tactician has guided Liverpool to two Champions League finals, winning one and taking home a Premier League winners medal. The former Dortmund and Mainz manager has taken the Reds from a team just below the elite of England to the pinnacle of World Football in results and entertainment factor. Klopp is also entertaining in his press conferences constantly voicing his opinion about a number of issues and never holding back. This bravado and passion spills over to the pitch where the former Dortmund man can be seen yelling and gesturing at his players regardless of score or opponent. The vigor and pure intensity Klopp brings to every match cannot help but rub off on his squad.
The Gegenpressing supporter always instructs his team to win the ball back and regain possession as soon as possible to start the next wave of attack. Klopp has established Liverpool as a serious and viable year in and year out contender for every piece of silverware, and the Champions League is within grasp once more. The German Genius is one of the many reasons why Liverpool are Champions League favorites.
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