With all the positivity around the club at the minute, and with the Reds in imperious form, I find myself strolling around all day with a cheeky little grin planted firmly on my face. The team are playing with a swagger and it’s evident that every single player understands exactly what his job is at any given moment. The boss having had a full preseason with the lads is proving to be a massive bonus. His addition of Andreas Kornmayer as fitness coach and Mona Nemmer as nutritionist should also help the squad keep up their remarkable fitness levels as the season progresses. While I was thinking about the these points I found myself asking: what constitutes a good season for the Reds come next May?
Like every other Liverpool fan around the world, I want more than anything for Klopp to lead us to the holy grail of a league title. Anyone that knows me is aware that I’m an extremely positive and optimistic guy, annoyingly so at times! Do I realistically see us winning the league this season though? Regrettably, I have to admit that I think we will come up just short of claiming that illusive Premier League trophy. There’s only one reason for this lack of optimism on my part, Manchester City. I believe they are that little bit further on in their development than us and that will prove decisive in my opinion. Much like many others, I’d hoped that City would get off to a stuttering start under the guidance of Pep. I thought that if they struggled to grasp his methods, then they might drop points early on and be left playing catch-up. The fact they’ve come out of the blocks and won six league games on the trot, leaves me thinking they’ll stay at the top until next May. Of course anything can happen and I hope they go through a crisis mid-season, but I just can’t see it.
That’s the only negativity you’re going to read from me during this article folks, I promise. After all, I did say that I was an extremely positive and optimistic person. In keeping with that statement, let’s have a look at what the team has excelled at already this season. Our front four look almost unplayable at the minute. There’s a debate around which four from Sturridge, Firmino, Coutinho, Lallana and Mane should start, but that’s for another article. The main thing is that whatever four Klopp chooses for any particular game, we look as if we will score a hatful of goals. We’ve become the first team this season to score five during a league game, that of course came last Saturday during our 5-1 hammering of Hull. I truly believe that the fact they had a man sent off changed nothing. The way we set off on Saturday meant that Hull were in for a nightmare afternoon and only one result was possible. If our forward line can maintain this standard all season, which I believe they will, then we will continue to blow many teams away before half-time.
Our defence has long been our achilles heel, but there’s signs of steady improvement there also. Matip has come in and immediately shown the class that Klopp always said he possesses, as well as looking like he’s worked hard on improving his upper body strength. I have a very good feeling that he and Lovren will form a fantastic partnership in the middle of our defence for years to come. Add to this the fact that Milner has done better than many of us expected at left-back and you’ll see why I have every confidence that we’ll continue to improve at the back. Although I’m not a big fan of Moreno, it was great to hear that he’s putting a serious amount of hard work in on the training field. I sometimes forget he’s still a young player who’s learning the game.
My personal favourite improvement we’ve made this season is in midfield. I’m delighted that Jordan Henderson has fully recovered from his long term heel injury. I spent much of the summer transfer window on Twitter defending his abilities to anyone calling for him to be sold. I still remember exactly how terrified I felt when he got sent off against City in 2014. The realisation that he’d miss three of the most important league games in the past two decades was a horrible moment. Many people still point to that incident as the moment we lost the title race. I reminded his doubters of just how influential a player he can be when fully fit. I must admit that I did question if the captaincy was a bridge too far for him. I thought that if the burden of the armband was taken off him, he could then focus all his energy into getting his form back. As each game passes though, I regret that thought more and more. He seems to be flourishing in the role and you can see just how much being captain of Liverpool football club means to him.
After explaining my views on the teams start to the season, I should probably get back to my original question. What would constitute a good season for the team come next May? I realise that this is a completely subjective question and I can only answer with my personal view. For me, a good season for the Reds would see us finish in the automatic Champions League qualification places, so 2nd or 3rd. I also think we need to win some silverware this season. The memory of losing two finals last season should act as a massive learning curve for the squad. If we can lift a trophy this season, I truly believe it will set us up for a genuine assault on the Premier League the following season.
One thing is certain though, the team are improving every week and under this manager anything is possible. Good times are coming folks and much like the team it’s important we remember the bad times, so that we can truly appreciate what’s to come. YNWA