Well that was a mixed weekend for the Reds I think we can all admit! But what did it tell us about the team and our chances of winning a trophy this coming season?
Well firstly, what a team we have on our hands! Even without Sturridge (will he ever be fully fit??) up front we played some brilliant stuff against a Barcelona team that have swatted away all-comers in pre-season. You can’t say they were weakened at all with both Messi and a returning Suarez playing for them in front of a packed Wembley. 90,000 fans all singing YNWA before battering Barca 4-0? Great day…
The most impressive player for me on the day was Mane, who was full of running and was involved in pretty much everything. Firminho too was everywhere on the day and will have a huge part to play in our upcoming season. For this to be the early days of the squad playing together ahead of Klopp’s first full season is extremely exciting I’m sure you’ll agree.
The game against Mainz was a completely different situation to the Barca game. Whilst the game at Wembley was a huge occasion this friendly was clearly just arranged to get the rest of the squad fit. The problem? Jurgen clearly didn’t expect the team to get so many injuries! Some players had to play another match less than 24 hours after an energy-sapping game against one of the world’s best teams. If not THE best.
I’m not going to say that the game didn’t matter, as any defeat is going to affect morale. It may be said to have even been good for us not to get above our station ahead of a game against Arsenal next Sunday. However, I’ll be thinking that our first team has a much better chance of being successful this season than the game against the German Europa League qualifiers has shown us.
Can We Be Champions?
Expectation is often the root of all evil and with that warning in mind, we Liverpool fans need to be very careful about what we honestly want from the upcoming season. As a bare minimum, a Champions League place would be the very least that we’d expect from Klopp’s first full season in charge. A cup is also something that we’d want after having gone four years without a trophy.
The biggest reason behind me getting my hopes up for the coming season is the eye-catching lack of European football. Going without continental football for a season is a shameful matter for a club the size of Liverpool, but even the most hardcore of purists will have to admit that having no regular mid-week football is a massive advantage. Leicester did so well last year without having to worry about Europe and the last time we never had Europe to play in, we went to within two points of the title.
The second major reason why I think we’ll do well this time is because I feel that Klopp has bought really well over the course of the summer. As I mentioned in my last article for this site, the only area that Klopp could have looked into is the left-back spot. And judging by the amount of air-time our “pursuit” of Ben Chilwell, Jonas Hector and Mattia De Sciglio has been gathering, I’d say there’s concrete evidence to suggest that he’s tried/trying really hard to find a competitor for Alberto Moreno as well.
The last time we challenged for the title it was generally seen that our defence let us down. Sort that out and get back on track with scoring goals for fun and we could have a fantastic challenge on our hands. Everyone else seems to be looking at the Manchester clubs to provide the biggest challenge (teams that finished 4th and 5th last season remember) and ignoring us. Maybe it’s because we haven’t bought any megastars like United are trying to do, but look at Leicester again last year. The pundits agreed that it wasn’t all about money but have reverted to type within weeks saying you have to spend money to win the league!
Other than that, I’d say that Klopp has been very direct with his summer transfers as he’s gone straight out and added more goals to his team. By adding Sadio Mane to the squad, he’s added a minimum of 12 goals while Wijnaldum’s addition should count for another 7 goals at least. The kind of form that Marko Grujic showed in opening exchanges of pre-season, I’d say that the young Serb could get at least 5 goals over the course of the season.
Fancy A Bet (at 25/1!!) On Us Winning The League?
I do actually fancy us to win the title, or at least get close. One offer that I’ve seen this week is mad. Betfair are offering 25/1 for us to win the league if you don’t have an account. Click on this link for more info.
There are also loads of offers on a site that we’ve got our eye on from their latest enhanced odds page. The one I got some money from last year is Coral’s top goalscorer offer. Stick £25 on someone you think will be top goalscorer and you’ll get a £2 free bet every time they score. I put it on Aguero last year (don’t judge me – we didn’t have a striker!) and won loads in free bets along the way. Might have to choose him again this year unless we can pull a striker out of the bag by Friday!!