Will it finally be… their year?
Welcome back to ‘The 2019-20 Premier League Season Preview’ – a feature series that previews all 20 clubs of the Premier League ahead of the new football season.
It’s time to revisit Merseyside and preview one of the main title challengers in… Liverpool.
MANAGER: Jürgen Klopp
CAPTAIN: Jordan Henderson
ODDS TO WIN THE LEAGUE: 5-2 (via Oddschecker)
One Leroy Sane goal stopped Liverpool last season from having arguably the greatest season in Premier League history.
The German winger’s winner for Manchester City in the 2-1 over The Reds in January of this year consigned them to their only defeat of the season and without it, Liverpool could have recorded an invincible season with eight points more than Arsenal’s 2003-04 heroics.
Amassing a 97 point haul that would have been enough to lift the title in all but one of the previous 38 game seasons, there was still another team in the land just ever so slightly better than Liverpool.
It’s fair to say that winning the Champions League for a sixth time soften the blow a bit for the Merseyside side. With that said, don’t be surprised if Jürgen Klopp’s side goes all out to finally get that elusive 19th that has avoided them for 29 years.
HOW THEY FINISHED IN THE LAST FIVE SEASONS
2014-15 – 6th (Premier League)
2015-16 – 8th (Premier League)
2016-17 – 4th (Premier League)
2017-18 – 4th (Premier League)
2018-19 – 2nd (Premier League)
Premier League – 2nd
UEFA Champions League – Winners
FA Cup – Third Round
Carabao Cup – Third Round
Top Scorer – League: Sadio Mané & Mohamed Salah (22), All: Mohamed Salah (27)
Sepp van der Berg (PEC Zwolle – £1.3m)
Harvey Elliott (Fulham – Tribunal)
Danny Ings (Southampton – £18m)
Rafael Camacho (Sporting Lisbon – £5m)
Alberto Moreno (Villarreal – Free Transfer)
Marko Grujić (Hertha Berlin – £2m Loan)
Allan (Fluminense – Loan)
Sheyi Ojo (Rangers – Loan)
Ben Woodburn (Oxford United – Loan)
Ádám Bogdán (Free Transfer)
Daniel Sturridge (Free Transfer)
GK – Alisson, Mignolet, Kelleher
DF – Clyne, van Dijk, Lovren, Gomez, Robertson, Matip, Hoever, Alexander-Arnold, van der Berg
MD – Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner, Keita, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana
FW – Firmino, Mané, Salah, Shaqiri, Brewster, Origi, Wilson, Elliott
PLAYER TO LOOK OUT FOR – HARRY WILSON
With Liverpool’s transfer window being pretty much non-existent so far this summer, just like Chelsea (albeit different circumstances), The Reds could look to within this season and rely on players that are returning to Anfield to help the club achieve more success.
None more so than Harry Wilson.
Many Liverpool fans have bemoaned the lack of transfer activity, but with only limited squad roles, the only clear holes which need filling Klopp’s team have been looking to do so with youth.
And Wilson offers statistically rare abilities which would be pricey on the open market.
After a very successful season on loan – under Frank Lampard ironically – at EFL Championship side Derby County, Wilson could provide something different for Klopp that pushes Liverpool on even more.
HEAD-TO-HEAD AGAINST CHELSEA
Matches played – 182
Won – 78
Drawn – 41
Lost – 63
HOW MUCH OF A THREAT WILL THEY BE TO CHELSEA?
A huge one.
Whilst the Blues were able to keep up with Liverpool (& Man City) in the title hunt until the turn of the year last season, the second half of the season showed the gap in quality between the two sides.
And despite Chelsea being the only team to win at Anfield in all competitions last season, don’t be surprised if the same gap exists at the end of this season too.
WHERE WILL THEY FINISH?
Such achievements last season will be tough to replicate this time around, and anything other than winning the Premier League will be could potentially be seen as a disappointment by some.
Liverpool’s young team has plenty of years ahead of it, they haven’t peaked, and Klopp will be determined to claw the Reds to their first title of the Premier League era – can they do it?
They have a serious chance to do so. But in an era that includes Pep Guardiola’s Man City… expect ‘their year’ to not be this one.
Predicted position: 2nd
Come back for part 11 tomorrow as go from one title challenger to another in the reigning champions… Manchester City.