With the 2020/21 Premier League season just a matter of days away, Jurgen Klopp will be full of confidence that his team are primed and ready to begin their long-awaited title defence.
At any given time your team score seven goals is surely a good proposition going into the new campaign even during pre-season and as well as when facing an opponent two leagues below you.
Liverpool’s 7-2 victory over Blackpool on Saturday was a fitting end to the club’s pre-season programme although a coach as obsessed with winning as Klopp will probably focus more on the manner in which the Reds conceded two sloppy goals as a sign that there are still improvements to be made.
Manchester City and Manchester United will both be looking to bridge the gap between themselves and the Reds last season and there have been a number of shouts from the media to indicate that this will unfold.
Gary Neville recently backed his beloved United to finish ahead of Liverpool while predicting City to usurp Klopp and his Reds for the league title with the current champions slipping into third.
FourFourTwo also recently back Pep Guardiola’s team to come out on top despite falling a gargantuan 18-points off the pace last season.
So, the real question that remains is why are Liverpool so underplayed by the media to defend their league crown?
Let’s talk about facts
Indeed, if the past is any given indication then, of course, it is likely that a new champion will unfold next season given City are the only team to successfully defend a league title since 2009.
However, Liverpool have proven themselves the norm when it comes to history in recent years following two consecutive seasons that saw Klopp and his player’s amass 196 points over two respective PL campaigns.
City themselves were able to operate on a similar upward trajectory before last season’s underwhelming surrendering of their league crown although their own demise in the English top-flight was more or less down to their own undoing.
Liverpool’s closest challengers lost their irreplaceable club-captain Vincent Kompany and made a glaringly naive decision to not replace the man who effectively won them the league in 2019 following the Belgian’s thunderbolt against Leicester City on the penultimate match of the season last year.
It’s also worth noting that City have lost their club-captain again for a second consecutive year in the form of David Silva and it is yet to be seen how detrimental this could be for the club given he is arguably the club’s greatest player of the modern era.
Leroy Sane also recently departed the Etihad Stadium to return to his home country with current Champions League winners Bayern Munich.
The 24-year-old speedster spent the majority of the 2019/20 out through injury yet there is every possibility that had he been available for Guardiola last season then the gap at the top may have been significantly reduced.
This raises another important question; what have City done in the meantime to compensate for such losses?
So far, a week before the season officially begins – although City will start their respective season a week later following their European involvement – Guardiola has made just two big-money signings from AFC Bournemouth and Valencia in the form of Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres.
Both players will likely improve the club in key areas, however, are these the kind of signings that are going to prove significant in seriously reducing an 18-point gulf from champions Liverpool?
As strong as ever
Meanwhile, although Liverpool have made just one addition in the form of Kostas Tsimikas, Klopp hasn’t lost any of his key personnel from last season and even in the midst of Georginio Wijnaldum’s persistent links with Barcelona, the team that cantered to the league last season still remains very much intact.
Chelsea look a force to be reckoned with this season with most of the club’s transfer dealings wrapped up considerably before the beginning of the season. Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner have both had full pre-seasons under their belts and this shouldn’t be overlooked.
Despite this, Chelsea’s squad still seems to have a strikingly worryingly imbalance from defence to attack. While Zyech, Werner and Kai Havertz will likely wreak havoc up-front, Chelsea have only added a 35-year-old Thiago Silva to inspire some central defensive steel to a back-four that conceded 54 league goals last time out.
Regarding Neville’s claim that United will not just reduce a 33-point gap that previously existed with his former team and Liverpool but that United will indeed finish above Klopp’s champions next season, we thought it fitting to consider a few facts.
Yes, United are a much better force than last season and are certainly capable of pushing Liverpool close next season but at this time of writing, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made just one solitary addition to close the gap at the top.
United should also be praised following the acquisition of Donny van de Beek who at £40 million seems a real bargain.
However, even with such a potent potential midfield trident of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Van de Beek at the fore next season their lack of squad depth still remains.
United looked utterly exhausted by the time they crashed out of the Europa League in meekly fashion to Sevilla and have since done very little to ensure that such a repeat will not unfold next season.
With everything considered, it is hard to see why Liverpool are not being lauded as overwhelming favourites to walk the league again next season.
Yes, we prefer and thrive with our typical underdog status but some respect needs to be put on the club’s name as we prepare for the most heavily congested and physically demanding season to date.
Klopp has demonstrated that his team will remain hungrier than ever following the excursions from pre-season. However, the media-led focus of doubt towards Liverpool’s title odds are a little premature and we look forward to the Reds once again vindicating the club’s recent transformation that turned supporters from doubters to believers.
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