It’s good to be a Liverpool fan at the moment, isn’t it? Salah is currently in the form of his life, the defence looks solid, and it just feels like the good times are back. Anyone who saw the game against Watford will know that things are shaping up pretty nicely for another run at the title.
Won: A Team With Confidence
It’s not just about winning games. It’s about how you win them. Manchester United are only a few points behind Liverpool, but no one’s backing them to win the league because there’s no swagger in their play. Liverpool are playing like a team fully secure in their abilities. They know that they can beat anyone. There’ll be a dip in the level of performance at some point, but if you’re playing 80% of the season like you’re the champions-elect, then you’ll probably end up lifting the trophy come the end of the season.
Lost: Squad Depth
If there’s one thing that might cause Liverpool to stutter, it’s their squad depth — or lack of. While there’s little doubt that Liverpool can steamroll any team on the planet when they’re at full strength, things become slightly less certain if a couple of the big hitters are missing. Indeed, it has such an impact that experts who make football predictions rate Liverpool’s chances of winning much lower when Salah or Mane, for example, are missing. And unfortunately for Liverpool, they’ll both be missing for several weeks in January, as they’ll be playing in the Africa Cup of Nations. If Liverpool are going to prevent Manchester City and Chelsea from pulling away while these two great players are missing, they’ll need Jota and Firmino to lead the line well and hope that the midfielders can chip in with a few goals.
Won: The Return Of Key Players
You can’t blame last season’s collapse entirely on their injury list, but there’s no denying that it played a massive role. You can’t lose three of your central defenders and not expect to struggle in games, especially when one of those players is Virgil Van Dijk. Many other vital players spent months on the sideline. But now? There’s almost a full-strength squad, and that means that Liverpool can be confident going into every game. If luck can stay on our side, and we can avoid freak injuries like last year, then that’ll be a good sign.
Lost: Manchester City and Chelsea
Of course, Liverpool can’t expect to stroll to the league. There are two pretty obstacles in the way, in the shape of Manchester City and Chelsea, both of whom are looking like genuine title contenders. Wisdom suggests that this season might be a little too soon for Chelsea to win the league, but you can’t rule them out, while Manchester City will almost be expecting to win the league. Who lifts the trophy at the end of the season might depend on the individual battles. Liverpool have played both teams once already, drawing each. Both games were at Anfield. And that means a result at the Etihad and Stamford Bridge might be essential.
Won: Klopp’s Revival
Klopp has performed miracles during his six years in charge of Liverpool; no one would disagree with that. But there were rightly some concerns last year, following the collapse of Liverpool’s title defence. Nobody was calling for Klopp to lose his job, but it was possible that the team would fail to return to the extremely high standards of the previous several years. After all, Klopp was in a position that he’d never been in before. Could he pick the team up off the mat and go again?
Well, he’s answered that question this year. Liverpool are playing as if they’ve forgotten that last season happened. If you’re going to win the league, then the manager has to be on the top of his game — and that’s just what Klopp is showing right now.