Looking at Liverpool's Title Chances
With Liverpool sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League there have been some who have said that this will finally be their year. Their form – and more importantly their results – has been very impressive so far and with Klopp obviously enjoying his first full season in charge of the club they are certainly looking a more imposing side.
But can Klopp’s tactics bring the title to Anfield for the first time since 1990? Will this squad succeed where their counterparts from 2013/14 ultimately failed?
Although it is only November and the Premier League season is just over a quarter of the way through, Liverpool have recorded a number of very impressive results. Beating Arsenal at the Emirates on the opening day of the season has set the tone and they have also beaten Chelsea away and scored 30 goals at the time of writing.
But there are plenty of difficult games ahead of them – most notably the New Year’s Eve match at home to Manchester City – so title dreams probably need to be checked at the moment. Most tipsters seem to think City are the more likely bet with Liverpool around the 5/2 mark.
GOALS, GOALS, GOALS
Liverpool are showing everyone else the way with their attacking style this season. Firmino, Lallana, Coutinho and Mane have combined wonderfully to outgun their opponents in almost every match. Klopp has decided that this is the way to attack, leaving former favourite Sturridge and Origi on the bench for most of the season.
But the problem for Liverpool is at the other end of the pitch. Outscoring the opposition may look very impressive in November but if Liverpool keep on conceding goals at the current rate then it may have a big effect on whether they end up lifting the trophy in May.
Out of the top 10 sides in the Premier League, only Burnley has let in more goals than Liverpool and - as well as James Milner has played at left back - Klopp must realise that he needs to steady the ship if his team has any chance of winning the title.
NO EUROPEAN DISTRACTIONS. BUT THERE IS THE AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS
One reason for the optimism surrounding the chances of a Liverpool title winning season is that they are not being distracted by a fixture clogging European schedule. Last year’s 8th place finish ensured that Liverpool could concentrate on the league and this could well have an effect on some of their rivals such as City. It should be pointed out that Chelsea are also unencumbered by long midweek trips this season so Liverpool will need to find another positive of their own.
There may not be European fixtures to contend with but Liverpool will have to deal with the absence of the highly influential Sadio Mane. The Senegalese midfielder, who joined from Southampton in the summer, has already scored six goals and has contributed greatly to the position his side now find themselves in. He will miss most of January while he is at the African Cup of Nations and if Liverpool lose against City on New Year’s Eve it could seem like a very long month.
CAN THEY DO IT?
Liverpool obviously have a chance of winning the title and the side are playing better than they have for a long time. But Manchester City and even Chelsea are looking good as well and both have players used to winning the league. Champions League qualification looks a good bet though and maybe success in one of the cups (Liverpool are already in the last eight of the EFL Cup).
Liverpool’s fans are understandably desperate for Jürgen Klopp to deliver what they consider a long overdue league title, but even with their impressive start to the season will this really be the year?