Although Liverpool failed in their bid for a historic quadruple in the 2021/22 campaign, after a few struggles they still managed to lift both domestic Cups (the FA Cup and EFL Cup), took Manchester City down to the final ten minutes of the final game of the season (losing out by a single point) and narrowly lost in the Champions League final to Real Madrid, and there was a lot of credit and praise to go around.
Optimism ahead of the 2022/23 season was somewhat muted with Sadio Mane pushing for a move (he eventually departed for German Bundesliga side Bayern Munich) and there were concerns over the future of Egyptian talisman Mohamed Salah, who originally only promised to see out his contract. UK and especially some US sportsbooks as reported by NJ.Bet up and down the country were in a frenzy given the potential outcomes and what it might mean for Jurgen Klopp’s coming campaign and even though Salah signed a new contract extension and they spent heavily on signing 23-year-old Uruguay international Darwin Nunez as Mane’s replacement, it has been a slow start to the season once more.
With the Premier League now paused to allow the first ever winter World Cup out in Qatar to take place, despite sitting in sixth place in the English top fight table on 22 points (a full 15 points behind Pep Guardiola’s City – the optimists will think of the way they rallied last season from a somewhat similar shortfall) with only six wins from the opening 14 games, there is reason for fans to think they may have turned, or at least begun, turning the corner.
Most expected Nunez to take a bit of time to settle, and his Premier League arrival has been mixed. As a new quantity for defenders, he scored two goals and provided an assist in his opening two competitive matches but then saw red in his third. Having served his ban he went five games without a real notable involvement (granted one of those was a one-minute substitute showing) but in October he began to find his feet again – with far better consistency, even if results did not go the Reds way.
Having ended his mini draught, the relative youngster has now provided one assist and scored seven goals in his last ten games across all competitions, and although the break might not be great on a personal level for him having properly found his feet, he will now know he can more than mix it at this level and it should serve him, and gaffer Klopp, well for when proper football starts again at the end of December.
Whether or not Liverpool can pull off the kind of comeback they managed last season absolutely remains to be seen, but they proved they could do it once and there will be those fans out there who take advantage of the break and head to the bookmakers to back their chances of doing it once again.
If this season proves to be a step too far given the deficit, the fact that 21-year-old Curtis Jones (81 appearances and eight goals despite his tender age) has just signed on until 2027 means that if this year is not to go their way, next season could be a different prospect given the overall squad and the way Nunez is now adjusting.