The 2023/24 Premier League season is now fully underway and the table is already starting to take shape. After a hugely disappointing campaign last season that saw Liverpool finish fifth and miss out on Champions League qualification, the Reds are rejuvenated under Jurgen Klopp this year. This big question is; are Liverpool title contenders again?
After years of going head-to-head with Manchester City for major honours, it was a shock for all Liverpool fans to see them struggle so much last season. Klopp knew he needed to freshen things up and he overhauled his midfield in the summer. The likes of Dominic Szoboszlai and Alexis MacAllister have added some much-needed creativity in the middle of the park and they managed to keep hold of Mo Salah despite strong interest from Saudi Arabia.
Early season form
Liverpool kicked off the new season with a 1-1 draw at Chelsea. It wasn’t the most entertaining game but the Reds may have felt they did enough to take all three points away from Stamford Bridge. Klopp’s side them came from behind to beat Bournemouth 3-1 at Anfield the following week despite playing with 10 men for over 30 minutes following MacAllister’s controversial dismissal.
Perhaps a defining moment of the season came at St James’ Park when Liverpool produced a stunning display of resilience to beat Newcastle 2-1. Antony Gordon put the Magpies ahead and it looked like Liverpool were heading for certain defeat when Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the 28th minute. However, the Reds dug deep, stayed in the game and substitute Darwin Nunez came off the bench to score a superb late double to claim an unlikely victory for the Merseysiders.
Liverpool then claimed comfortable wins over Aston Villa, Wolves and West Ham before losing 2-1 to Tottenham in a hugely controversial game in North London. A blunder by VAR denied Liverpool the opening goal and Joel Matip scored a last-gasp own goal to gift Spurs all three points after Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were both sent off. Liverpool were then held to a 2-2 draw by Brighton last time out before heading into the international break.
Liverpool now sit fourth in the Premier League table, just three points adrift of joint leaders Tottenham and Arsenal, and one point behind third-placed Man City. So, on the face of it, Liverpool are certainly right in the mix for the title as things stand.
Bookmaker odds usually give us a good indication of things. Betting on the Premier League title winner is big business with millions wagered each season. Punters use various tools to gain an advantage in the betting markets and sites like Brokerstorm can be very useful. They deal with betting accounts, brokerage services and betting software to help bettors manage their accounts safely.
If we look at the current odds, the bookmakers think Liverpool are among the early favourites. Defending champions Man City are still the 8/11 odds-on favourites to retain the title despite losing to Arsenal last weekend off the back of their defeat to Wolves. The Gunners are priced as 4/1 second favourites after their solid start having pushed City all the way last season.
Liverpool are currently the 5/1 third favourites with Tottenham at 11/1. The likes of Chelsea, Newcastle and Man Utd are all at least 40/1 suggesting they have no chance of mounting a title challenge this season.
Sustained Liverpool challenge?
While there are early signs that Liverpool are back on the right track, Klopp will still be concerned about many aspects of how his team have played so far. Particularly Liverpool’s habit of conceding first, as they’ve fallen behind in five of their last seven league games. They have also kept just two clean sheets this season, so Liverpool’s defence could once again prove to be their downfall.
The Merseysiders struggled to keep clean sheets last season and it seems they have the same issue this campaign. The problem is being papered over as Liverpool still have one of the best attacks in the league and they’ve been able to fire themselves to 17 points from 8 games so far.
However, it remains to be seen whether they can sustain a title challenge over a 38-game season with such a vulnerable defence. Unless Klopp can figure out how to keep the ball out of Alisson Becker’s net on a consistent basis, the Reds are likely to fall back and find themselves competing for a place in the top four rather than challenging for the title.