Liverpool are one victory away from matching their best start to a Premier League season. At what stage of a season is it deemed justifiable to discuss whether Klopp’s boys are capable of matching Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ of the 01/02 season?
Last season, Liverpool got off to their best-ever Premier League start as they won their first six games of the Premier League season before coming undone at Stamford Bridge. It was only that stunning 89th minute equaliser from Daniel Sturridge which prevented a defeat in a 1-1 draw. Once again it is old foes Chelsea who stand in the way of 100% perfection for Liverpool in the Premier League.
Chelsea sides have a history of denting the dreams of one English football club in particular when they visit Stamford Bridge. That club being Tottenham Hotspur. After the game dubbed ‘The Battle of The Bridge’ in 2016, Chelsea and Eden Hazard ensured that Spurs would not be winning a Premier League title and they would instead be giving Jamie Vardy the greatest party of his entire life. Although Liverpool have fared quite well at Stamford Bridge in recent times, Chelsea remain the club well-known to everyone who stopped Liverpool (and Steven Gerrard) from winning the title in 2014.
A good omen for Liverpool is that they have only lost to Chelsea once in their previous nine Premier League meetings. Whilst Chelsea have begun the season in sporadic form, not surprising given they have a new manager in Frank Lampard who has had to comes to terms with a transfer ban. Despite this, Chelsea’s young team have a lot to prove to their manager and their fans and they will be well-up for beating a side that on current form are clearly the best team in the Premier League.
But if Liverpool are good enough to beat Chelsea in their own backyard on Sunday, could this be the season of ‘Klopp’s Invincibles’?
What makes a team of ‘Invincibles’?
- A reliable and strong goalkeeper backed up by a world class defence
In Alisson, Liverpool now have the goalkeeper they have been searching for since the days of Ray Clemence and Bruce Grobelaar. During his debut season, Alisson proved that he is one of the best as well as one of the most confident goalkeepers in the world. Klopp also has the best defender in world football and probable Ballon d’Or winner at his disposal in Virgil van Dijk.
The game has changed since Wenger’s ‘invincibles’ of 2002, however. Although van Dijk and Joel Matip provide Liverpool with rock-solid stability at the back, their full back’s best features are their outstanding attributes going forward. You will not see this Liverpool side sit back and grind out results too often, given Klopp’s style of football, Liverpool will look to overrun teams and an important part of this tactic is having full backs who can attack just as well as they can defend. In Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool have two of the best attacking full backs around.
- A captain who is ready to put his life on the line for all his teammates
Jordan Henderson was given the captaincy of Liverpool in 2015 once Steven Gerrard retired and through sheer grit, hard-work and determination he has become the obvious choice to lead. Henderson is now rated as one of the most important members of Klopp’s side. Henderson won the goal of the month award in in 2016 with a goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, could history repeat itself on Sunday?
- A hunger for winning
Multiple title winning defender Rio Ferdinand has stated numerous times that he and his all-conquering Manchester United side had winning in their DNA and that him and his team-mates were never satisfied with one trophy, they always had to win again and again. On the face of it, it looks like this Liverpool side have that same hunger. After defeat in the 2018 Champions League Final, Liverpool’s squad, which was largely unchanged, refused to feel sorry for themselves and instead came back the following year to win the trophy.
After so narrowly losing out to a record breaking Manchester City side last season, it seems even less likely that the Liverpool players will figure they’ve been defeated, more likely they will come back with even more determination as they look to win their first Premier League title since 1990.
- Footballing superstars
When you look back at Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’, you can see their side was littered with an array of some of the best footballers to have ever graced the Premier League. Arsenal’s line-up consisted of the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Jens Lehmann, Patrick Vieria and Martin Keown to name just a few. When you compare them to Liverpool’s current side there are many similarities. Mo Salah is just as much as a talisman to Liverpool fans as Thierry Henry was and Mane is to Salah as Pires was to Henry. Henderson is Liverpool’s version of Vieria and Alisson is just as reliable, maybe even more so, as Jens Lehmann was.
There is the same balance to Klopp’s side as there was to Wenger’s side. Flair, speed and passion going forward mixed with hard-work, dedication and steel in the middle and at the back.
- The Manager
Since Klopp took charge of Liverpool in 2015, Liverpool have become one of the most feared sides in Europe. Klopp has brought in players that have suited his style of football to a tee and now Liverpool fans are reaping the fruits of Klopp’s labour. After numerous runner-up appearances in cup finals, Klopp finally won his maiden Champions League trophy last season and has now set his sights on bringing the league title back to Liverpool. Without a doubt, Liverpool would not be in the position they are in now if it was not for Jurgen Klopp. A massive part of their success is strictly down to him.
Can another invincible season be done?
Certainly, it is immensely more difficult to go through an entire Premier League campaign unbeaten now than it was in 2002. The Premier League is the richest and arguably the most competitive league in world football. However, last season Manchester City and Liverpool were head and shoulders above the rest of the league and whilst Liverpool have managed to replicate this form, Man City have not. Liverpool have not lost a Premier League game since January 3rd, 2019 and have not lost a home Premier League fixture since April 2017. Liverpool are currently on a 22 game un-beaten streak which is why several sports betting websites are already offering odds on the chances of this Liverpool side becoming ‘invincibles’.
If any squad of the modern era can replicate Wenger’s ‘invincibles’ of the 2001/2002 Premier League season, it is Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.