Liverpool came close to winning the Champions League last season after appearing in the final against Real Madrid. It was the closest the Reds have come since lifting the trophy in Istanbul back in 2005. Jurgen Klopp’s side turned out to be the surprise package of the competition as goals from a deadly front three fired the team to the final in Kiev.
However, serial winners Real Madrid carried the day after Liverpool’s talisman Mohamed Salah went out injured in the first half. It was a disappointing end to a run that had come as a surprise to even many Anfield faithful. At the beginning of the campaign, the Reds were not counted as one of the favorites to lift the trophy so getting to the final was out of the question.
But the trio of Mo Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino was on fire. The Egyptian led the way but they all hit double figures in goals. Add to that another combined 12 assists in the competition from them and Liverpool had the world taking notice and the Kop believing again.
A combination of unfortunate incidents in the final put their ambition to conquer Europe once again to a temporary end considering the fact that they’re looking to better than success this term. Getting to last season’s final was the biggest victory for the club. It announced a new dawn for the Merseysiders. It breathed new life and confidence into the team and assurance for the manager that he is on the right track.
Quite naturally, Jurgen Klopp went out and shattered transfer records in the summer to go one better this time around. The big question though remains: Can the club do it again, and do even better this season by lifting the trophy in Spain come May?
Having fixed some of the weak areas in the squad, Liverpool are much stronger this season than they were last term. Brazilian first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker is a huge upgrade on Loris Karius. A double midfield reinforcement is also a smart move as Naby Keita and Fabinho add steel in the middle of the park.
The teams 100% start to the Premier League campaign and top-notch performance in the Champions League suggests it could be Liverpool’s time. The Reds sit top of the league table and defeated a hugely talented Paris Saint-Germain side that is one the favorites to win the competition this season.
Daniel Sturridge proved he is no passenger in the team as he opened the scoring against the French giants on a night when Firmino was on the substitutes bench as a result of an eye injury. That is good news for his manager as a fit Sturridge provides another quality option in attack.
The Englishman and another summer signing Xerdan Shaqiri give the team the depth necessary to compete on all fronts. With a noticeably better squad at his disposal, the German manager can hope to mount a stronger challenge for the trophy.
Performances put forth by the club against European heavyweights will be key to success on the continent. Being able to beat a determined PSG in the first group game lays down the marker for what is to come. With Carlo Ancellotti’s Napoli held to a goalless draw in the other group game, Liverpool are set to finish the group as winners with their current form.
From then on, they have the players needed to work their way to the final just like they did last season. But that is easier said than done. Especially when Barcelona have set themselves a target to dominate Europe again.
Juventus acquired Cristiano Ronaldo for that very reason. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are still contenders despite suffering losses in their first game. And German champions Bayern Munich cannot be ruled out of contention as well. In the end though, Liverpool have their destiny in their own hands.