Premier League 2017/18 Preview – Liverpool

liverpool

Image: Daily Mail

Liverpool’s success in the transfer window cannot be judged until the window closes. The club are desperate to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho, but it will be hard to resist a substantial bid from Barcelona with their newly acquired riches from Neymar’s move to PSG. There is also the issue of Virgil van Dijk, who the club had to publicly apologise for tapping up earlier in the summer, however the player seems determined to force a move. Of the business that they have done, Mohamed Salah has come in from Roma, a much-improved player to the one that failed to break through at Chelsea. Salah joins a threatening front line of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. At the back, Liverpool will have a natural left-back this year, as Andrew Robertson has come in from Hull, meaning that they will not have to shoe-horn James Milner into defence. Up front is an issue for Jurgen Klopp. Roberto Firmino operated there last season, whilst Daniel Sturridge is unlikely to feature regularly this season, whether through injuries or because he does not fit in to Klopp’s philosophy. Added to that there is Divock Origi, Danny Ings, and new signing Dominic Solanke, who has been impressive in pre-season, netting three goals. After not having European football last season, Liverpool managed to claim a Champions League place, so the extra matches this season could be the difference between matching last season’s achievements and missing out.

Key Player: Saido Mane. With Coutinho looking likely to leave, Saido Mane would be Liverpool’s main threat going forward. The attacker was Liverpool’s joint top-scorer with 13 goals last season, and Liverpool’s form significantly dropped off when he went to the African Cup of Nations. Mane’s pace is a key feature in Klopp’s philosophy, and paired with Salah on the opposite wing, this could be Liverpool’s real attack threat this season.

One to Watch: Ben Woodburn. The Welshman broke in to the Liverpool side last year, and has reportedly had several loan offers for him rejected this summer. This implies that Woodburn is a part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans this season. Woodburn netted in the friendly against Athletic Club, and became the club’s youngest ever goal-scorer after his FA Cup strike against Leeds last season. Woodburn can operate up front, on the wing or behind the striker, making him perfect for Klopp’s system.

Last Season: 4th

Predicted Finish: 5th

Advertisements

Premier League 2016/17 Preview – Liverpool

Liverpool-v-Villarreal

Daniel Sturridge scored three times in Liverpool’s Europa League run, including in the Final against Sevilla. Image: Mirror Football

Liverpool’s season last year would have to go down as a disappointment, finishing in eighth. Jurgen Klopp having a full pre-season will be key in him imposing his philosophy on the squad. Liverpool fans will generally happy with their dealings this summer, as they have shipped out a lot of dead wood and strengthened some key positions. Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure and Joe Allen are among the fringe players that have been shipped out, with the Reds recouping around £46m. Klopp has gone out and spent that money, with £36m spent on another Southampton player, Saido Mane. Although Mane has proven his quality in the Premier League, notably against Liverpool last season, he is very inconsistent and will often have to be carried by his new teammates. Loris Karius has joined to challenge Simon Mignolet in goal, whilst Ragnar Klavan coming in at the back. Question marks will be raised over the £25m spent on Georginio Wijnaldum, who although showed signs of talent in his season at Newcastle, lacked the application over the whole of the season. Goals weren’t a problem for Liverpool last year, putting seven past Man City alone, and with five players hitting double figures in all competitions. The lack of European football could be an advantage to a Liverpool side that will already potentially be fitter than some of their rivals for Champions League football.

Key Man: Daniel Sturridge. Despite having an injury hit season, Sturridge managed eight league goals last season. If kept fit by Klopp, the England striker could easily challenge for the golden boot, especially given the service of Coutinho and Firmino.

One to Watch: Sheyi Ojo. The winger made a handful of appearances last season as Jurgen Klopp rotated his squad in the league, but he certainly didn’t look out of place. He made four assists in his eight games and direct running was great to watch. There is heavy competition for places in the Liverpool attack, but the 19 year old will be able to step up if called upon.

Last Season: 8th

Prediction: 8th

Premier League 2015/16 Preview – Southampton

saints europaAfter being tipped for relegation last season, Southampton surpassed all expectations to challenge amongst the top four for the first half of the season before dropping to seventh. Again the Saints have lost their stars, with Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne departing, but the club acted quickly to bring in Jordie Classie and Cedric Soares. Cuco Martino and Steven Caulker have been brought in to provide numbers in defence, though it remains to be seen whether a replacement will be brought in for Toby Alderweireld. Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic tailed off dramatically in the second half of the season, so the arrival of Juanmi and recovery of Jay Rodriguez will help relieve the pressure on them. Sadio Mane will prove vital for the Saints, but needs to become consistent if he is to be classed as one of the league’s top attackers. The Europa League may have an effect on Southampton’s side, as their squad isn’t the deepest, but the quality of the matchday squad should see them finish ‘the best of the rest’.

Key Player: Sadio Mane

One to Watch: Jason McCarthy

Prediction: 7th