Can Jürgen Klopp Uphold his Imperious Record with a Trip to Carrow Road?
Liverpool Football Club has been completely transformed under German manager Jürgen Klopp, with his big-money, but prudent, signings all being the exact pieces that he’s needed to bring the club into the modern era. Of course, this culminated in winning the Champions League in 2018/2019 and the title in 2019/20, and proved hardy enough to drag an injury-ravaged squad to third place last season.
Klopp has led his team to break many long-standing records, from transfer fees paid to record runs, with perhaps the biggest being the Reds’ Anfield record of 64 games unbeaten that stood for 40 years. However, one impressive record that has seen Liverpool always start as they mean to end often gets overlooked. With six seasons under his belt, Klopp is yet to register a defeat in the opening game of the campaign, but can this continue with a visit to Carrow Road on 14 August?
Nearly six whole years of first day celebrations
Since the first game of the 2015/16 season, when Klopp first took charge, Liverpool have only dropped points on one opening-day occasion, which still didn’t even register as a loss. In the German’s inaugural season, the Reds managed to grab a 1-0 win against Stoke City away from home.
Next came a dreaded opening day fixture, facing Arsenal at the Emirates to start the 2016/17 campaign. Liverpool’s 4-1 lead at the 63-minute mark was beaten back by goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers, but the Reds stopped the rot just in time.
The 2017/18 season started with yet another trip, this time to Vicarage Road. Coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 down in the game, Mohamed Salah’s go-ahead goal just before the hour mark was nullified by Miguel Britos three minutes into added time. This marks the only stain on Klopp’s opening day record with Liverpool.
In the seasons since, Liverpool have put up statement triumphs at Anfield. In 2018/19, West Ham United walked into an ambush, losing 4-0, which was followed by a 4-1 beat down of newly-promoted Norwich City. Last season, with a full-strength team, Liverpool stopped an annoyingly optimistic Leeds United, winning 4-3.
Only one of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ tops that record since 2015: Manchester City with six wins from six games. Still, Klopp will be looking to extend this undefeated streak on the opening day. Given the opponent and their unfortunate fixture draw, Liverpool should be looking to make it six wins and one draw in seven years.
Liverpool to sour Norwich’s return to the top again
Norwich City won the Championship emphatically in 2018/19, only to be made a prime example of the tremendous step up that comes with promotion by Liverpool on the opening day. A 4-1 drubbing is what the Canaries received at Anfield, which would prove to be indicative of the rest of their season.
Now, they return, with three more points to win the second tier than they did two years ago, and they’ll get to welcome the Reds instead of travelling all the way north-west. While the team has certainly improved and returns as a stronger, more experienced unit under Daniel Farke, they don’t look to be in line for a happy return.
According to the odds of the football betting on Space Casino, Norwich are in for a rough time. Liverpool blaze as the favourites at 5/18 to win the game at Carrow Road, and are at 2/1 to repeat with a -2 handicap. Furthermore, the Reds are at 37/4 to land another 4-1 win, despite not being at home.
Once again, Liverpool look to have a formidable squad that’s capable of challenging for the title, but Joe Gomez, Naby Keita, and Virgil van Dijk could well miss the trip to Norwich. Still, especially as the Canaries have seen star winger Emiliano Buendía depart, the Reds should be able to overpower the Championship champions.
While an upset is always on the cards in the Premier League, Klopp should be confident that his team can land yet another win on the opening day of the season. Plus, there’s every chance that the regular thorn in Pep Guardiola’s side, Nuno Espírito Santo, could get a landmark win in his first game for Spurs, making Klopp’s record all the more impressive.
Written by Alan Spence
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