All in all, last season was a spectacular fall from grace for Liverpool, having performed so admirably in the previous two seasons. Constant improvements since the appointment of Jurgen Klopp in 2015 had led to impressive yet ultimately failed attempts in the final match of campaigns in Europe in both 2016 and 2018. Yet, it was clear to the fans he was leading them in the right direction and the feeling that something special was brewing permeated throughout the city of Liverpool.
After losing the final to Real Madrid in 2018, Liverpool swore they would be back next season. However, Klopp’s poor record in finals made some uneasy and he was determined to put it right. Putting in some fantastic performances along the way, the highlight was their comeback win against Barcelona in the semi-final. Liverpool duly dispatched fellow Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur in the final to take home their sixth European crown.
The Long Wait Ends
Having been the dominant force in English football during the 1970s and 80s, it was a constant cause of surprise and disappointment to the club that they were unable to add to their then-record of 18 league title victories. Seemingly becoming perennial underachievers, Klopp had begun moulding his squad and steadily improved their league position. This led to a title challenge in the 18/19 season, wherein a fascinating battle, running Manchester City extremely close in the race for the Premier League title, they were unfortunate in the end to miss out by one point.
Growing in stature and confidence, they were made firm favourites by nearly all bookmakers in the betting markets to lift the Premier League trophy. The club made a blistering start to the following season, determined to win their first title in 30 years. Eventually finishing runaway leaders by 18 points ahead of main rivals Manchester City, it could have been even more but for poor end of season form when the title was secured. Liverpool basked in glory and received all the plaudits for a fantastic season and predictions were rife that due to the skills and resilience of this team, another Liverpool dynasty was on the way. So where did it all go wrong?
It all Falls Apart
From being mentioned as the greatest team on the planet, losing only three games in their title-winning season, to just about scraping into third place at the end of the next, Liverpool had a season to forget. Some accused them of arrogance, of a heightened sense they would just sweep teams away with their relentless style of football. In the end, Liverpool had their destiny in their own hands due to poor results by others and they stepped up to secure Champions League football next season.
It seems like Liverpool have constantly had a big injury list this year and they have been unlucky on that front. An important player for them, integral to their success is big Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk. Since his arrival in 2018, for what at the time was a world record for a defender at £75 million, he has been a rock in the centre of defence. On the receiving end of a challenge during a game with Everton’s Jordan Pickford, it was established van Dijk needed surgery on his knee, thus ruling him out for the rest of the season. It is this moment that many saw as the start of the demise of Liverpool’s title challenge as they were unable to replace him adequately.
Rivals are Getting Closer
As if having Manchester City to deal with wasn’t bad enough, Liverpool’s bitter rivals Manchester United have been steadily improving themselves. Finishing an incredible 33 points behind Liverpool the previous season, they astonishingly finished above them by five points last season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to build his squad capable of winning the Premier League, enduring their barren spell of title victories after their era of success came to an end, with their last Premier League crown lifted in 2013. If you wish to have a bet on Liverpool seeing off both of these challenges, you can browse the latest football betting odds at any reputable online casino.
Teams such as Chelsea are always lurking dangerously in the background and after winning the Champions League themselves last season may feel the time is right for a title challenge of their own. While traditional so-called “big clubs” Tottenham and Arsenal appear to be struggling, teams such as Leicester and West Ham are eager to take their place. Leicester, having won the Premier League in 2016 are now constantly near the top spots in the table, dispelling their mid-table or relegation fodder status forever. West Ham improved a massive ten places on their league position from the previous season so it all points to Liverpool not having an easy ride. Well respected and a tactical genius, ex Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez taking the reins at traditional rivals Everton, has made even the Blues an interesting forethought.
Uncertainty Around the Club
Suddenly, there is an unsure feeling about which way the club’s future lies. If players do not recover well from their injuries, that could present an enormous problem that will have to be solved. The cover last season was just not good enough. Transfer gossip swirls around the club, with all of the famous striker trio Mane, Salah and Firmino being linked with moves away from the club and not many moves being made to dispel these rumours. These players are vital to Liverpool’s cause.
The likes of Georginio Wijnaldum being allowed to leave will not help matters. An often under-sung hero for the side, pulling strings in the midfield, fans wish more had been done by the club to prevent his departure on a free transfer to French club PSG.
Despite being a disappointing season for Liverpool, the quality is there for them to bounce back quickly this season. If all their players remain fit and they don’t suffer any shock departures from their front line, they have more than enough to take on any opponent in the Premier League. It’s not that long ago teams were wary of facing them and they need to get back that fear factor and return to the marauding style that won them the Premier League in the first place. If they don’t, it could be a long time before they get their hands on that trophy again.