Experts Seem to Be Forgetting How Strong this Liverpool Side Still is
Last season actually ended rather well for the Reds. Considering the waves of long-term and intermittent injuries that plagued Liverpool throughout the season, causing them to lose key players regularly, it was somewhat of a miracle for Jürgen Klopp’s side to finish third.
In second-place, Manchester United only had one more win than Liverpool, but for a time, Europa League places looked to be the end goal. After losing 1-0 to Fulham at Anfield, Liverpool suddenly switched into gear, going undefeated through the last ten league games. They only drew twice during that run.
Even with this mighty finish against all odds, and off the back of an emphatic title win the year prior, Liverpool are still seen as the underdogs to claim a second Premier League.
Underrated despite a top-class arrival
Liverpool have only made one signing at the time of writing, but the £36 million spent on 22-year-old centre back Ibrahima Konaté looks to be a very good one. Even during Liverpool’s preseason games, the Frenchman looked commanding, strong, and eerily similar to a younger Virgil van Dijk.
Konaté adds some essential depth to the centre back corps but doesn’t look set just to play a supporting role: the 6’4’’ defender could well claim a starting spot. More importantly, though, all but one of Klopp’s preferred batch should be fit for the start of the season. Andy Robertson’s injury isn’t as bad as first expected, but he’s still set to miss up to the September internationals.
Konstantinos Tsimikas should be up to the task of filling in up to early September, but other than the Greek coming in, Klopp should be able to put out a very similar team to that which won the league in 2019/20. Despite this, the Premier League predictions see the Reds finishing one place back of last season.
Perhaps missing that final piece
If there’s one area of the team that could be pointed to as potentially lacking, it’s the striking department. As shown on the Players Used page of Klopp’s profile, Roberto Firmino is the German manager’s most-played player, making 285 appearances prior to the start of the 2021/22 campaign.
Perhaps his consistency has allowed the club to overlook the lack of depth in the position, but the Brazilian would certainly benefit from both a challenger and someone to play in relief. The 29-year-old’s only current understudy is Divock Origi, who scored one goal in 17 appearances last season, averaging just over 31 minutes per game.
The Belgian just doesn’t have the presence to be even a slight threat to Firmino, but also greatly struggled to make an impact when called upon last season.
If they manage to avoid too many major injuries and perhaps add an understudy to Firmino, Liverpool should be in the right place to surpass predictions and even challenge for the title again.
Written by Alan Spencer
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