Can Liverpool go all the way in 2019/20?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Ruaraidh Gillies, CC BY-SA 2.0

In 2018/19, Liverpool had their best season for over a decade after winning the UEFA Champions League for the sixth time.

This sixth win pushes them into third place for the most victories in history, behind only A.C. Milan (7 wins) and Real Madrid (13 wins). It also extends the gap between them and Manchester United who have only won the Champions League 3 times.

2018/19 was also Liverpool’s best domestic season for many years. The reds haven’t won the top-flight domestic title in England since the 1989-90 season, before the formation of the Premier League in 1992. Although 2018/19 was a strong year for Liverpool, will they be able to maintain this performance in 2019/20? Liverpool have a fairly easy opening Premier League game against Norwich on 9th August with current odds giving them 2/11 chance to win the match. However, based on their performance in the last few matches the momentum from last season may not have been maintained.

Off-Season

Liverpool had a mixed off season, losing most of their pre-season games. The team lost 6-0 to Tranmere Rovers, 3-1 to Bradford City, 3-2 to Borussia Dortmund, 3-0 to SSC Napoli and 2-1 to Sevilla. They then finally managed to eek out a draw against Sporting CP and a 3-1 victory against Olympique Lyonnais.

Community Shield

The final pre-season game was against 2018-19 Premier League winners, Manchester City; they lost the Community Shield on penalties at Wembley Stadium after a draw in normal time. It was a very enterprising clash and a game high on quality, as we would have expected and after a below-par pre-season, the Reds eased any nerves with a competitive performance – hitting the post twice in the second half.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Nigel Wilson, CC BY 2.0

Transfers

Liverpool have had a relatively quiet transfer window with no major signings with the exception of Sepp van den Berg who was purchased from PEC Zwolle for £1.3 million. The only additional signing was for one youth player. 5 players left the club, with Rafa Camacho being sold to Sporting CP for £7 million and Danny Ings to Southampton for £20 million. Alberto Moreno, Daniel Sturridge, Connor Randall, and Adam Bogdan all had contracts that expired.

This leaves Liverpool with less talent to face the new season, leaving many fans questioning how this will affect their chances in 2019/20. However, it may be that Liverpool is looking to continue to support and develop their existing players and bring up more talented youth. Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp has a track record of delivering on player development so it is certainly not unreasonable to expect him to succeed. The only weakness coming from the lack of new signings is having less in defence than would be desirable.

Another Two Horse Race?

Despite the unexciting performances during the pre-season games, Liverpool appear to be the only team that stands a chance of stopping Manchester City from getting another Premier League title. Whilst Jurgen Klopp has been in charge at Liverpool, the team has improved in their performance each year. In 2018/19 the reds scored 97 points and lost only one game. In 116 of the last 119 seasons, this would have been enough to win the league, however, Manchester City were so dominant that they managed to do just a little bit better. Manchester City do not appear to be faltering, so it will be up to Liverpool to do something special to leapfrog their Mancunian rivals.

Overall, Liverpool continue to be a strong team which, in any other year, would have won the 2018/19 Premier League if it wasn’t for even more exceptional performance from Manchester City. The pre-season performance is not always a great indicator of how the season will unfold as these games are used for experimenting new formations, plays, and players. The Reds do not have much in the way of new players, but since their line-up was so strong in 2018/19 it is unlikely to hinder them much in 2019/20.