Whilst the Premier League season is very much in its early stages, there is a very familiar look at the top of the table. Last season’s epic battle between Liverpool and Manchester City where just a single point won City the title looks like it could be repeated again in nine months’ time.
For years Liverpool have lived in the shadows of their North West rivals with both City and Manchester Utd finishing as champions, broken up occasionally by Chelsea and Leicester City, but recently there are signs coming out of Anfield that Jurgen Klopp’s side are ready to break the monopoly.
The Red’s are the only team with a 100% record after City dropped points at home to Tottenham and Klopp will be looking at making their early advantage count and deliver their first Premier League title.
The key to why they are ready to win is balance, strength and outstanding players across the pitch, City have shown that year on year and still add an extra component to keep the competition for places fresh. In winning team’s players always want to play which makes life easier for the manager picking the team.
Just like Guardiola, Klopp identifies where improvements to the squad can be made and the board have backed his judgement. This summer he chose not to reinforce with major signings, sure in the knowledge his players can deliver and with the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez Klopp has two almost brand new signings who missed the majority of last season’s campaign.
More importantly, Liverpool had the exit door firmly shut during the summer transfer window and with no departures, Klopp has been able to work without hindrance through the first month of the season, unlike some of his fellow managers with constant transfer speculation involving some of their players.
Liverpool’s set up of a front three, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, gives their opponents plenty to think about during games and while those three can fire enough goals to win the club the title, the Reds remain resolute and hard to break through from front to back.
Virgil Van Dijk will be expected to mirror his debut season in which he justified why Liverpool paid so much money for him, working out to be one of the most consistent performers across the league. Behind him in goal Allisson will be a big loss, but the shrewd signing of Adrian for free still gives the Reds good cover in that area and will keep Klopp’s men on course as clean sheets are just as vital as goals.
Klopp rarely changes his team around, fielding the strongest he can unless tiredness or injury dictates otherwise compared to Guardiola or Pochettino, but then why change a winning team, it’s consistency and continuity that breeds familiarity and wins you cups and titles.
It is still to early in the season to see if we will get a repeat of last season battle, but if the race for the title is as strong and exciting and comparable to last time out then it’s going to be one very good advert for the Premier League.
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37