Liverpool might not have got the result they wanted in the Champions League on Wednesday, but things look very bright for them in the Premier League and we reckon they can attain their first top-flight crown since 1989-90. Here’s why.
Liverpool have taken 19 points from their first seven Premier League encounters.
The only domestic match they were unable to win was Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea, which can be considered a good result considering where the Blues are.
The fearless Roberto Firmino leads the press superbly and, when possession is turned over, we see Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah burst beyond him.
By being so quick to attack in transition, they can often find spaces in behind with opposing teams unable to drop from an offensive shape to a defensive shape straight away.
The Reds – who have have enjoyed their best start to a season since 1990-91 – are available at 23/10 as of 4th October with the latest betting apps for Android to take top honours.
Salah will find form
Mohamed Salah was, perhaps, a touch wasteful at Tottenham and Chelsea.
Clearly, he is not yet quite as ruthless this season as he was last; although he did set an incredibly high bar in 2017-18 by scoring 44 goals in all competitions.
What should encourage Liverpool fans though is that, in the games in which he hasn’t been at his best, he has still looked lively and has still been getting into goalscoring positions.
In fact, he has still scored three goals in six Premier League appearances and one dare say, if his Anfield career had started in the summer, the talk surrounding him would be about what an excellent impact he has made.
If this is how the effervescent Egyptian looks while having a rough patch, then one cannot wait to see how he performs when firing on all cylinders.
For all Liverpool’s wonderful attacking play last season, they still failed to score against each of the relegated sides.
That would suggest that when space is restricted for their three attacking maestros, the midfield tasked with offering alternative creativity has perhaps been found wanting.
This year, not only has James Milner improved and Georginio Wijnaldum found excellent form, they also have a midfielder in Naby Keita capable of carrying the ball forward from deep and picking the inch-perfect passes to release others.
In 2016-17, Sadio Mane’s exit for the African Cup of Nations completely derailed their season because no forward in the squad offered anything like the level of pace and power the Senegalese speedster provides; thus Jurgen Klopp had to tamper with the team setup, leading to disjointed performances and below-par results.
Last year, Salah’s arrival meant Mane became a very good player rather than an indispensable one and this year, there is even more depth.
Daniel Sturridge’s resurgence means there is back-up for Roberto Firmino, while versatile creator Xherdan Shaqiri has already shown his class.
Players like Jordan Henderson and the currently sidelined Adam Lallana, who were not long ago seen as key cogs in the Reds machine, are now fringe players.
They’ve got Van Dijk
Virgil Van Dijk has started 21 Premier League games for Liverpool and a whopping 12 of them have resulted in clean sheets: continuation of that current rate would mean 22 over a full season.
History tells us that is more than enough to win a title.
Man City managed 18 last season and 16 when they won it under Manuel Pellegrini, Chelsea took 17 and 16 in their last two title triumphs, Leicester accrued 15 in 2015-16 and Manchester United tallied only 13 in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year in charge.
The Dutchman has, who all the attributes required from a modern centre-back – pace, power, awareness and class in possession – has almost single-handedly turned Liverpool’s biggest weakness into a major strength.
Under his guidance, we have seen young centre-back Joe Gomez flourish this season with a series of excellent performances.
Whenever Liverpool have got close to the title over the last decade, they have suffered from a touch of altitude sickness.
Had they won it 2013-14, for example, supporters would have been completely overjoyed and it would have been celebrated as almost a miracle.
That’s not to belittle the club in the slightest, but to illustrate that at that point, they had had very little contact with football’s elite.
That isn’t the case this year. Firstly, they have reached two European finals under Klopp and achieved top four finishes in consecutive seasons, which has enabled them to attract a higher-calibre of player, so the jump into title contention has not been quite as dramatic.
For that reason, nerves are less likely to spread among supporters and players are more likely to handle the pressure.
Finally, Liverpool might just have the minerals to make history.