The Rise of Liverpool’s New Era
After winning the Premier League title in front of no fans, it is understandable why we as Liverpool supporters are so hungry for more glory.
The journey to that legendary achievement in 2019/20 was unforgettable, with the Reds only dropping two points in their first 28 league games, but it ended in a damp squib, if we’re being honest.
We were all delighted, of course, as 30 years of pain came to an end, but it would have been even more special had the COVID-19 pandemic not got in the way.
Since then, Liverpool have enjoyed more success, winning both domestic cups in 2021/22 and coming so close to an unprecedented quadruple, and we are now in Jurgen Klopp’s 2.0 era at Anfield.
Anfield’s Midfield Transformation
The German overhauled his midfield in the summer, getting rid of five players and bringing in four new faces, and it has reaped instant rewards.
Liverpool have looked an entirely different animal compared to last time around, when stamina was lacking in the middle of the park and injuries hurt Klopp badly, and there has been early talk of a title tilt.
While Liverpool only sit three points behind predictable league leaders Man City at the moment, it is clear that there are still flaws in this side that could put paid to them going all the way.
Sunday’s 1-1 draw away to Luton was as frustrating as it was disappointing, and although a comfortable win was within reach if Liverpool’s finishing had been sharper, this isn’t yet a side close to that 2019/20 outfit.
The absence of a solid No.6 is an undeniable issue, even though there have been positive performances from Alexis Mac Allister in that position, and this continual underperforming away to lesser teams is becoming increasingly worrying.
How many times have Liverpool actually played well in these matches over the past 18 months?
The Premier League Title Chase
That being said, in many seasons in English football history, this Liverpool side would be title contenders, but as has painfully been the case so often during Klopp’s time as manager, City make the situation completely different.
They have shown time and time again that they are a team who can produce ludicrous winning runs after Christmas, as their superior squad depth shines through, and they feel almost certain to achieve around 90 points every year.
Because of this, Liverpool and other challengers need to be near-perfect during their 38-game run, and regrettably, it seems unlikely with the Reds’ 2023/24 squad.
Mo Salah is the only genuinely world-class attacking option, providing relentless end product, Trent Alexander-Arnold is still adjusting to a new role, and there are four midfielders who continue to adjust to life at Anfield.
This is a very good side who will comprehensively outplay many opponents, but they aren’t yet dominant who look capable of going on an unstoppable run.
It feels as though there will be several slip-ups for Klopp’s men to go all the way, with this Liverpool outfit more like his 2017/18 side, who were fantastic to watch but never felt like title winners, even though they reached the Champions League final.
Next season could offer a better opportunity to win a second Premier League crown, especially if Pep Guardiola has decided to move on at the end of the current campaign.
That feels unlikely, but we can all dream,
Liverpool’s Quest for Dominance
By then, the likes of Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Ryan Gravenberch should be even better – Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott will be a year older, too – and further signings are expected to join in defence, midfield, and possibly even attack should Salah depart.
The idea of the Egyptian King leaving is clearly a concern, and it would be a setback in any title quest, but if the money received for him is spent wisely, Liverpool should remain formidable.
For now, it’s natural to keep dreaming that this could be a title season – how Liverpool fare at the Etihad later this month could give a clearer picture – but realistically, this is a team still growing and not yet perfect in everything it does.
The Luton draw highlighted that, so a second-place finish and a Europa League triumph should represent a more realistic successful campaign, before finding another gear next term.
This is still Klopp 2.0 in its infancy, so an element of patience is required.