Liverpool have perhaps enjoyed their finest year since the turn of a new millennium. Jurgen Klopp’s men became king’s of Europe for a sixth time after beating Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final back in June.
After missing out on the Premier League title by a solitary point last campaign, Liverpool appear to be running away with it this time around having established a 10-point lead at the league summit whilst registering 49 points from a possible 51.
The success didn’t stop there. Liverpool would end the decade by creating history after becoming champions of the world for the first time in the club’s illustrious 127-year history after defeating Flamengo in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup final.
Going into the new year, RTK has picked three players who need to improve if Liverpool are going to continue firing on all cylinders throughout 2020:
1) Naby Keita
The Guinean international has had a stop-start Liverpool career since making his £52 million move from RB Leipzig.
Keita, 24, has been hindered by a number of reoccurring injuries since signing for the Reds back in 2018. The Guinean international has only started one Premier League match all season.
Despite his recent return to form, Keita has seriously struggled following an injury sustained against Barcelona back in April. It was the first real glimpse of faith Klopp had entrusted with the Reds’ No.8 but he was halted off just minutes into the encounter.
Keita has shown glimpses of his undeniable quality but needs to find the consistency alongside an ability to affect the big matches if he is going to live up to the gargantuan weight the No.8 shirt holds following the absence of Steven Gerrard.
2) Joe Gomez
One of the more unfortunate members of Liverpool’s dazzling 2019 success. The England international started the year recovering from a broken ankle following a tackle from Ben Mee against Burnley back in December 2018.
The Champions League holders were at their defensive best when Gomez completed the defensive quartet before his injury at Turf Moor. The former Charlton Athletic defender’s inspiring influence in the team saw Jurgen Klopp’s team only leak six goals in 16 games during the 2018/19 season.
Following injuries to Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, Gomez has been thrown back in the deep end. He has yet to show the same consistency as last season but the new year opposes the perfect opportunity to see if he will sink or swim.
3) Roberto Firmino
The surprise inclusion on the list. Roberto Firmino has emerged as one of the best No.9’s in world football. To suggest there is room to improve could be seen as a massive insult but his statistics of late have shown a recent dip in form.
The Brazilian international has only one league goal in his previous 11 matches. He is yet to score in the Champions League since October and having played 23 matches this season in all competitions Firmino only has five goals.
Statistics don’t always tell the story as Firmino’s game has never been defined by goals. The former Hoffenheim striker’s relentlessness and unwavering unselfishness define why he has featured more under Klopp than any other player since the FIFA Coach of the Year joined the club in 2015.
Since his emergence on Merseyside, Firmino has made 219 appearances for the Reds and has a remarkable 71 goals and 56 assists. The Brazil international has proven one of Liverpool’s great forwards over the years and Kopites will be desperate that he can turn to his devestating best in 2020.