Manchester City dominated England last term as Pep Guardiola looked to build on his trophyless campaign in the previous season. After going through the 2016-17 season empty-handed, for the first time in his illustrious career as a manager, the Catalan weaved together a City side that took England by storm.
This culminated in winning the double at the end of the season as no team came close to challenging the Citizens for the Premier League title. Liverpool, however, had none of that in the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp has usually had the better of his former rival in Germany. He proved he was a close match for Pep having been the first to defeat him in the league. As if ending Guardiola’s unbeaten run was not enough, he also trashed him home and away to dump him out of the Champions League. The German went on to lead Liverpool to the UCL final in Kiev.
Even though Liverpool lost to Zinedine Zidane’s record-breaking Real Madrid side, they had made a statement. The days of struggling to make the top four and getting eliminated from the competition at the first huddle had come to an end. The Anfield side was back to its best. The glory days were around the corner.
Despite the seeming success, however, there were still weaknesses in the team. This was particularly reflected in the avoidable mistakes made by the goalkeeper in the Champions League final.
Klopp knew he needed a better goalkeeper, but not in his wildest imagination could he have expected Loris Karius to capitulate at the grandest stage of all in club football. The goalkeeper’s mistakes not only ended the team’s chances of winning the trophy on the night, they ended his chances of ever being the club’s first choice in goal.
After breaking the transfer records in January for Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have been forced to do it again, this time for a first choice goalkeeper. Alisson Becker joins the club from Roma as one of the most sought-after goalkeepers in Europe. The Brazilian put forth impressive performances for the Italian side that endeared him to many clubs.
His presence in the team, as with that of January signing record center back signing Virgil van Dijk means that the team’s weakness in Klopp’s previous seasons had been fixed.
This could turn out to be the game changer for Liverpool. The Reds have already secured the signings of midfield dynamos Naby Keita and Fabinho to beef up the midfield. They are two of the best midfielders in the world at the moment having proven their consistency at Leipzig and Their performances for Monaco and RB Leipzig respectively were instrumental to the clubs’ success.
Moving to Liverpool is a well deserved step up in their careers but they are not the only ones that will benefit. Their combination will make the club’s midfield one of the best not only in the Premier League but also in Europe. Their manager is relishing the prospect of ending his trophy drought in England.
The team’s biggest strength which is upfront will be poised to see to that. The trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah form one of the deadliest strike forces in Europe. Together, they outscored any other front three anywhere on the continent. Salah was the leader of the pack and beat both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the European golden boot.
In the new season expect even more from them. With a solid defence and midfield backing them, they can now fully concentrate on the business of creating chances and scoring goals.
Salah will be seeking to prove he is no one season wonder. Mane and Firmino will consolidate on their previous achievements and the whole team will be the better for it.
The German manager’s high-pressing style will be at its best with records set to tumble as the team implements his philosophy on the pitch. Whatever happens at the end of the campaign, the Reds will have entertained us in the course of the season on their way to lifting a trophy or two.