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Are Liverpool really Premier League title contenders
13 September 2018, 17:04
Are Liverpool really Premier League title contenders

Liverpool return from the international break as the Premier League’s top team. Thanks to goal difference, Jurgen Klopp’s side leads the table. Liverpool have sat top of the table early in the season before only to come crashing down in the end. Is this Liverpool different and are they really Premier League title contenders?

Klopp addressed two key areas in the offseason. The first was defence as the club signed goalkeeper Alisson Becker to replace mistake-prone players Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius. Alisson’s performances in goal have already saved Liverpool a few times. Despite his ridiculous Cruyff Turn mistake against Leicester that led to a goal, Alisson has been solid for the Reds.

The other area addressed by Klopp was the team’s depth. Last season, Liverpool were thin on the bench. Outside of the team’s starting XI, there were few dangermen waiting to come on. This season has seen the additions of Naby Keita, Fabinho, and Xherdan Shaqiri. There is now competition for places in the team and capable backup players on the bench.

Liverpool have benefited from a soft schedule to open the season. West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton, and Leicester were all beaten with just one goal conceded by Liverpool’s defence. While West Ham was dominated, the Crystal Palace win was laboured and ugly.

Brighton nearly snatched a draw, but Alisson’s late game save prevented that from occurring. Liverpool should have won against Leicester by far more, but a poor second half allowed the home team back into the match. Mohamed Salah had an uncharacteristically poor performance which was called the worst of his Liverpool career.

Yet, Liverpool’s win in spite of Salah’s poor performance shows the growth that Liverpool have made this season. Last year, Liverpool would have capitulated without Salah on the pitch. Without the Egyptian, Liverpool’s players lacked confidence in 2017-18. The Champions League Final was the perfect example of them crumbling without Salah.

Liverpool’s defence has allowed just one goal this term. Klopp hasn’t had the chance to play his preferred centre-back duo from a year ago as both Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip have been recovering from injuries. Instead, Klopp has turned to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Dutch international Van Dijk was signed to be the central defensive stopper for Liverpool.

He has excelled in the heart of defence and made Liverpool much tougher. Gomez has been on the periphery of the team for years. Originally used as a left-back, injuries continually derailed his bid to be a regular. Finally, he is getting his chance at centre-back, his natural position.

The season is about to become far more difficult for Liverpool. Klopp will lead his side out against Tottenham on Saturday at Wembley. Liverpool will then play Chelsea and Manchester City in back to back weeks to finish September. There is also the matter of the Champions League with games against Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli in the coming weeks. Liverpool cannot forget about an EFL Cup fixture against Chelsea on September 26th either.

Fixtures are set to come fast and furious for Liverpool. Depth will play a big part from here on out as Klopp attempts to keep Liverpool a top the Premier League. Liverpool have the tools to stay Premier League leaders, but Klopp must keep them from making the mistakes that plagued them in the past.

Predictions for Premier League

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_1 PR
ArsenalChelsea FC
19/01/2019 17:30
2
flag_1 PR
HuddersfieldManchester City
20/01/2019 13:30
2
flag_1 PR
Fulham FCTottenham
20/01/2019 16:00
2
flag_1 PR
WolverhamptonLeicester City
19/01/2019 12:30
2

England Premier League - predictions, tips, statistics
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Liverpool FC 60 23 19 3 1 54 13 41
2. Manchester City 53 22 17 2 3 59 17 42
3. Tottenham 48 22 16 0 6 46 22 24
4. Chelsea FC 47 22 14 5 3 40 17 23
5. Manchester United 44 23 13 5 5 46 33 13
6. Arsenal 41 22 12 5 5 46 32 14
7. Watford FC 33 23 9 6 8 32 32 0
8. Wolverhampton 32 23 9 5 9 27 31 -4
9. Leicester City 31 23 9 4 10 29 29 0
10. West Ham 31 23 9 4 10 30 34 -4
11. Everton FC 30 23 8 6 9 34 33 1
12. Bournemouth 30 23 9 3 11 33 42 -9
13. Brighton 26 23 7 5 11 25 32 -7
14. Crystal Palace 22 23 6 4 13 23 32 -9
15. Southampton 22 23 5 7 11 25 40 -15
16. Burnley FC 22 23 6 4 13 23 43 -20
17. Newcastle Utd 21 23 5 6 12 19 31 -12
18. Cardiff City 19 23 5 4 14 19 44 -25
19. Fulham FC 14 22 3 5 14 20 49 -29
20. Huddersfield 11 22 2 5 15 13 37 -24

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