One always has to put their money where their mouth is when discussing who is likely to win the league and it undoubtedly takes a brave person to dispute City’s claim to the throne given their complete and total domination last season. In the same breath, there can’t be any denying that this Liverpool side is as good as any team that has won the title in recent times.
When considering the strengths of Klopp’s Liverpool, one immediately thinks about the rampaging trio of Mane, Firmino, and the irresistible Salah. Quite rightly too as these three are arguably Europe’s most lethal attacking threat and the performance against West Ham signalled that they are ready to pick up from where they left off last season.
Back at it. ❤ pic.twitter.com/URq2hHjuwV
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 12, 2018
It’s not just Liverpool fans that enjoy watching their poetry in motion but also the neutrals. It’s a joy to watch with every move forward looking like it could result in a goal and so often it does. The speed of passing and precision on the final ball has one of the threesome repeatedly stabbing the ball into an empty net with the goalkeeper as well as defenders bamboozled and lying scattered across the box in complete bewilderment.
With an attack like this, you could justify that Liverpool are the team to beat this season purely because they will overrun everyone in their way but it’s their defence that needs mentioning. Klopp’s backline came under serious fire during the majority of last season for being too brittle but since the arrival of Van Dijk from Southampton, the stats make for compelling reading.
The towering Dutchman arrived in January and it didn’t take long for him to shore up the cracks. The Reds haven’t conceded a goal at home in the league since February and since that time have only seen seven scored against them on the road. When you combine Liverpool’s relentless attack with their new formidable defence, it’s easy to see why Klopp’s men may well be title winners at the end of the season.
The development of fullbacks Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have given the Reds fluid movement on the flanks when both attacking and defending. Their work rate and quality of final ball have given Liverpool a new dynamic that makes them virtually impossible to contain.
Klopp’s work in the transfer market has been exemplary with the big German manager using it to perfection. The holes that Liverpool used to have are no longer there after a pragmatic Klopp broke the bank to fix the issues that could hamstring his team. When you consider the contrasting fates of Liverpool and Arsenal in the transfer market you realize what an astute manager Klopp is.
Arsenal were as good as Liverpool going forward but refused to invest in their defence after many years of warning signs. The Gunners now find themselves reeling and the odds on Arsenal to win league 2019 are 64/1 after having skyrocketed on the Betfair Exchange. That could have so easily been Liverpool but Klopp acknowledged that there were weaknesses, addressed them and now it’s going to be a furious fight for the title.
Liverpool haven’t conceded a league goal at Anfield since February
Since making his Liverpool debut, no player has kept more clean sheets in the Premier League than Virgil van Dijk. pic.twitter.com/X2zYDKhQZ4
— Football Factly (@FootballFactly) August 14, 2018
When City arrived at the Emirates for the season’s opening victory against Arsenal, Sky Sports reported that the first thing members of the coaching staff asked was, what the score between Liverpool and West Ham was at Anfield? City know they are in for a scrap, make no mistake about that.
The final and most telling piece of information is that in the last three competitive meetings between Liverpool and City, the Reds have won all three and scored nine in the process. Not many managers, if any actually, hold the wood over Guardiola but Klopp seems to have taken the ascendancy. There’s nothing sensational or scandalous about it, Liverpool ought to be title favourites as things stand.