This season promises to be extremely exciting with Premier League clubs going all out in getting exciting new players, great new managers and with the TV money proving in, competition is going to be higher than ever.
Here is what we can expect from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side.
Defence to do better
The Liverpool team has been infamous for being extremely porous at the back.
The last time the side was reliable at the back was when Kenny Dalglish managed the team a few years ago. Brendan Rodgers’ focus seemed to be on the attack and the defence was compromised on a number of occasions.
When players can outscore the opposition, a leaky backline doesn’t prove to be a problem, as was the case in the 2013-14 season, but when that is not a possibility, attention shifts to the problems at the back.
Klopp’s arrival has rightfully shifted the attention at the back.
After taking over last season, the club’s defensive problems reduced and if pre-season is anything to go by, Liverpool are going to do a much better job being tight at the back.
The addition of two goalkeepers, Loris Karius and Alex Manninger and two centre-backs, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan, indicates that Klopp will no longer tolerate sloppiness at the back.
Apart from the Mainz game, the Reds conceded just 3 goals in 8 pre-season games and kept a clean sheet in all 6 of their home games.
This is extremely promising.
Improvement in midfield
A major problem last season was the side being overrun in the midfield.
Too often, opponents found it easy to get to Liverpool’s box because the midfield offered nothing.
It was equally difficult for the Liverpool forwards to create and score because the second half of the pitch was sluggish and couldn’t offer quick transitions.
Adding Giorginio Wijnaldum shows Klopp has identified this problem and is keen on making amends. The former Newcastle and PSV can bring the ball forward from the midfield and be part of quick counter-attacks.
Marko Grujic has also looked very promising in the centre and might be Liverpool’s wildcard this season.
Liverpool now have a lot of options in the midfield with experienced figures like Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Adam Lallana vying for a place.
More pace injected
Another worry for the Reds last season was the lack of pace.
Other than the erratic Alberto Moreno, the Reds lacked someone with real pace in the side.
Raheem Sterling offered the same, but his departure meant Liverpool didn’t have someone with the ability to quickly get forward and cause problems with acceleration.
The addition of Sadio Mane means that problem has been taken care of to a certain extent. Divock Origi and Danny Ings are also quick players who will be involved more this season.
Marko Grujic and Giorginio Wijnaldum provide the much needed speed from the midfield.
Over-reliance on Sturridge not an issue
Ever since Luis Suarez departed for Barcelona, the Reds have relied on Sturridge to be the side’s main man and get them the wins.
The England international has brilliant ability in front of goal, undoubtedly, but his fitness is such a grave concern that it makes little sense to rely on him to get the club the important wins and trophies.
This finally seems to be changing.
Divock Origi has shown a lot of promise last season where he scored 10 goals in all competitions. He has shown similar guile in the pre-season and the 21-year-old looks ready to carry the burden.
He will also have Danny Ings in support. Ings started the season very well, but a cruel ACL injury meant he couldn’t build on the early season form.
Not to mention, Roberto Firmino can also play the false nine role.
Liverpool, after a long time, look well equipped in attack.
A genuine top 4 challenge
There is little doubt that a lot of teams have strengthened themselves and getting a Champions League berth next season will be difficult.
But with all the new signings, promising signs from last season as well as the lack of European games, the Reds too, have a very strong chance of finishing with a spot in the Champions League for next season.
The high-intensity, well timed pressing, relentless energy and positive attitude shown from start to finish in the 4-0 win over Barcelona, admittedly in just a pre-season game, shows that the Reds have the quality to put on great displays, and extract solid results.
This should be Klopp’s main aim and if the pre-season is anything to go by, Liverpool fans have reason to be excited.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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