Michael Mongie provides three reasons to convince you that Liverpool should be considered as title contenders for the 2016/17 Premier League season.
In October last year, Liverpool Football Club made a managerial switch which saw club owners, Fenway Sports Group swap Brendan Rodgers for the charismatic and lively Jürgen Klopp. Angst had been growing for several weeks with results not being produced and Rodgers insisting that the Reds were headed for yet another “transitional period.”
This managerial change saw Merseyside seem less gloomy and it was easier to forgive stale performances due to the fact that they quickly become few and far between. In his first full season as the manager of Liverpool, Klopp took his inherited squad to two cup finals and narrowly missed out on Champions League football for the coming season.
Heading into the 2016/17 season there are very few people who would tip Liverpool to be the winners of the competition when May of 2017 swings around. It would seem the much spoken about fairytale that was Leicester City’s title winning campaign has been forgotten.
Anything is possible in football and Klopp is working on a team based on talent, teamwork and plain old heavy metal football which I believe could see the Premier League trophy come to Merseyside as it has never done before. While many people and pundits alike are unwilling to predict a Premier League winning season featuring Liverpool, they are simultaneously reluctant to rule the Reds out. This speaks volumes on its own.
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For the first time since Luis Suarez wore red, Liverpool don’t have European Football to contend with. It is often suggested that the reason that Liverpool came so close to winning the title in the 2013/14 season is solely because of the devious genius of Suarez. Very few people acknowledge that Liverpool had a largely uncluttered fixture list.
According to Whoscored.com, last season Klopp’s side played 63 games in all competitions – more than any other side in Europe’s top 5 leagues. This congested fixture list meant that Klopp and his coaches had to prioritize certain fixtures to accommodate with the bulk of football that Liverpool had to play.
Next season, however, Liverpool will only have domestic competitions to play in which will mean more rest before each fixture – which are made more tiresome by Klopp’s demanding style of play.
Very few teams can boast that they have a truly world-class striking talent in their squad. Of these teams very few can boast that their world-class attacking talent is fit for almost every game. Liverpool have Daniel Sturridge. The former Chelsea forward is a genuine world-class player. His fitness is where his game comes crashing to the medical room floor.
Sturridge is currently on holiday after spending his break on international duty with the England national team. When he returns it will be present the opportunity to complete pre-season for the first time since joining Liverpool in 2013. Keeping Sturridge fit for as many games of the season will be crucial to any hopes of silverware and Champions League qualification. If Klopp keep him fit to appear appear in 40 games he will almost certainly return 20 or more goals. The Englishman scored 11 goals in 18 games under Klopp last season after returning from injury.
The Klopp Effect. Fittingly, the last reason that Liverpool should be considered as challengers for the Premier League season is the effect that Jürgen Klopp has had on the club since his arrival last October.
Since the German chose to manage Liverpool there has been a visible change around the club and the people who support it. Restoring the fans belief was his first task and it was a resounding success. Everyone has seen the photos of the fans with their pyro for Liverpool’s Europa League games. The dramatic comeback against Borussia Dortmund was only possible because of the proverbial ‘twelfth man’ pushing the players and dragging others, cough cough Moreno.
All jokes aside. Liverpool have one of the most talented managers in European football and if anyone man can inspire a team to success it’s Klopp. You need only look at the wonders his Dortmund team pulled off to realize the magnitude of having a manager like Klopp in charge of your club.
Next season is setting up to be a whopper of a Premier League season with Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho all starting new jobs. The influx of world-class coaches will stimulate competition but any good Klopp-side prospers under competition.
Fasten your seat belts and grab your ear-plugs, folks, next season will bring more drama, emotion and heavy-metal football to the nth degree.