It’s fair to say that the end of last season didn’t go exactly as Liverpool had hoped. If just two games had gone in their favor, they would have ended the campaign with an unprecedented four trophies. In the end, they won only two — and not the two that they wanted to win. There was a lot of talk of a hangover from last season this time around, and given how they’ve started, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. But there’s a long way to go. So what might Liverpool do this season?
The league may be beyond them, but there’ll be more than a few people considering using an introductory betting offer to back the side to overcome their troubles and lift the Champions League. One thing’s for sure: as with every year, it’s shaping up to be another intriguing year at Anfield.
Early Season Woes
Two draws and one defeat from the opening three games seemed, by Liverpool’s standards, to be something of a nightmare. And given that the sides that were playing were Fulham, Crystal Palace, and permanently-troubled Manchester United, it very much looked like it could be a long and difficult season for the Merseyside team. It wasn’t so much the results that would have concerned Klopp, but the performance. The side’s levels against Fulham and Manchester United, in particular, were not of the standard that he’s come to expect from his players.
Liverpool seemed to save up all their form for their fourth game of the campaign, in which they beat Bournemouth 9-0, a joint-record highest score. Now, not even the most loyal of Liverpool fans would suggest that this result really meant anything in the grand scheme of things. Bournemouth have not played well in a single game this season, and they were as awful as Liverpool were great. Still, it will have been reassuring to Klopp to see his boys banging in the goals, plus there were some excellent cameos from younger players of the squad, too. All in all, it proved that Liverpool still very much know how to turn on the heat when they want to.
The Man City Factor
Ordinarily, a relatively slow start to the season wouldn’t be the end of the world. You could just go on a terrific run of form later in the campaign, and end up with the title in your hands. Alas, these are not ordinary times, and it’s all thanks to one extraordinary team. Manchester City were favorites for the title before the season began; and now, with Liverpool faltering slightly, they seem to be nailed on for glory. They’ve barely dropped any points in the past three years, and given the way they’ve started this year, you wouldn’t expect them to drop any this season, either. The bright start that Haaland has made to his Manchester City career — he already has hit the ground running — is probably a sign that the title will be on its way to Manchester again.
Of course, it’s not only Manchester City that Liverpool have to worry about. While it’s true that they’ve been the two standout sides of the past few years, other teams are beginning to show that they’ve got some fight in them, too. The North London clubs, Tottenham and Arsenal, have both made excellent starts to the season. Indeed, Liverpool should probably be concerned that one or both of them will finish above Liverpool in the league. Manchester United are also finding some form, too. Could Liverpool miss out on the Champions League positions? That’s still unlikely, but it’s more likely than it has been in recent seasons.
Champions League Hopes
The league title might be a little beyond Liverpool this season. But there’s another competition that could still make the campaign a roaring success: the Champions League. Liverpool will have been encouraged by the group stage draw, which was pretty kind to the Merseyside team. While there’s no easy group in the Champions League, it will be a surprise if Liverpool don’t finish in first place. And from there? Liverpool have shown time and time again that they have what it takes to go all the way to the final. And if the CL is the only competition they’re fighting for (assuming that the title is done and dusted in Manchester City’s favor by March), then you’d have to back the Liverpool crowd to roar the side all the way to the final.
The Best Case Scenario
The most optimistic of Liverpool fans would say that the first few games were a red herring and that Liverpool are about to embark on a long run of victories that’ll take them to the top of the league. The flaws in Manchester City’s system will begin to crack around December when Haaland’s goals dry up. From there, it’ll be victories in the League Cup, Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League, making Liverpool the first team to win four major trophies in one season.
The Worst Case Scenario
The worst-case scenario is that Liverpool continue to falter, Salah’s goals dry up, Nunez never figures out how to not get sent off, and all of the team’s World Cup players come back jaded. They narrowly lose out on a Champions League place thanks to an own goal that hands Manchester United fourth position on the final day of the season.
A Transition Season?
It was never going to be possible for Liverpool to maintain the ridiculously high standards that they set last year. They were nearly flawless, and that they didn’t end up winning all the trophies before them doesn’t change that. With Sadio Mané gone and new players in, it feels like this might be something of a transition season for Klopp and his players. They’ve had them before and come back stronger than ever the year after. If Liverpool make it comfortably into the Champions League places and win a trophy or two, then it’ll be another excellent season for the team.
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