Why Liverpool are still title contenders despite an underwhelming summer?
Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have been such an excellent fit since he took over the reins in the 2015/2016 season. His reign at Liverpool has seen them rise exponentially to the top of English football and also in Europe.
His attacking systems made the Reds such a difficult side to come up against, a free-flowing attacking football also blended with a style of defending popularly known as the gegenpress which involves squeezing opponents in their own half and forcing them into errors, and winning the ball as quickly as possible.
Liverpool have enjoyed many successful seasons under Jürgen Klopp including a Champions League triumph in 2019 followed by a league title in the following year.
Over the years, Klopp has managed to keep a consistent group of players together and miraculously had them on top of their games physically and fitness-wise as the style of play he employs requires optimum fitness and excellent physical condition of these players.
Although it could be argued that the current Liverpool squad has quite a number of players who are around the 30-year mark, Klopp is still able to get this current crop of players performing and playing the kind of football he loves to play.
Last season, the Reds struggled in patches after losing captain Virgil van Dijk. The loss of the veteran CB affected the overall performance of the team as they became somewhat shaky at the back, this also meant Liverpool couldn’t attack freely as much as they usually do for fear of being too open at the back.
In spite of the setback, the Reds still found a way to adapt and managed a top-four finish to secure a place in the Uefa Champions League group stages.
Fast forward to the current season, Liverpool welcomed back captain Virgil van Dijk who’s been out for over 9 months owing to a severe injury suffered to his knee last term.
This season, despite losing reliable midfielder Gini Wijnaldum to Paris Saint-Germain, the return of VVD would provide a major boost for the Reds as they hope he finds the form that put him up there with some of the best Center Halves in European football.
The return of VVD would mean Liverpool can go back to playing with freedom and assurance, knowing fully well they have someone at the back who is trusted to shore up the backline and provide some sort of leadership and stability, enabling the attackers to flourish without having to be burdened with so many defensive duties.
The Reds have started the season already with two wins against Norwich City, Burnley, and a draw against European champions Chelsea.
The Reds would look to build on the firing power of prolific attacker Mo Salah and the rejuvenated Sadio Mane who suffered a dip in form last season but looks to be finally regaining some of that form which saw him and Salah terrorize a lot of defenses in the past.
The Reds also added more firepower to their attack last term in Diogo Jota who’s gradually working his way into the first team as the main starter owing to the fact he’s been chipping in with the goals consistently in recent times.
Jurgen Klopp would hope to find a way to get him into the side as a mainstay in addition to the trio of Firmino, Mane, and Salah.
The squad may look aged in certain areas and also made up of old faces, but that’s hardly a bad thing as it is in fact an underrated strength because this is a crop of players that have played together for a while and know each other very well.
Liverpool have their veteran defender back, and their frontline looks to be firing again.
With the experience of manager Klopp, and with better luck with injuries this term, I fully expect them to be up there in the title mix as they are a side who know how to consistently grind out results even when not on top of their game. Can Klopp deliver another League title with this side?