After a positive start to the season having lost just one league game so far, Liverpool have set themselves up nicely with some great results which include away wins against both Arsenal and Chelsea. Just how far can manager Jurgen Klopp take them?
It’s safe to say last season was far from ideal on the pitch for Liverpool having finished 8th in the league and lost both the League Cup and Europa League finals. It was never going to be easy for Klopp to get instant success having come in during the 2015/16 season but he has gradually been able to turn Liverpool into his own team.
Klopp has been able to embed his “Gegenpressing” style philosophy which involves an intense pressing game and looking to counter attack the opposition very quickly. He used these similar tactics when in charge of Borussia Dortmund which led them to back to back Bundesliga titles during the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons. This has been made easier to adapt for Liverpool now that Klopp has been able to sign the players he wanted during the summer and train them straight into his philosophy.
The high pressing tactics are proving pivotal as Liverpool have covered the most ground of all Premier League teams so far this season. Adam Lallana also has the record of covering the most ground ever in a Premier League match when he covered 13.1 km in their 4-1 win over Leicester City, eclipsing his own record when he ran 12.5 km in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham two weeks earlier.
It’s not only Lallana who has been impressive for Liverpool this season, a number of players have stepped up to make an impact. Summer transfers Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum who cost a combined total of £57 million have made a very good start to their Liverpool careers. Mane has already got two league goals and troubles defences with his blistering pace whilst Wijnaldum has been a reliable main stay in Liverpool’s midfield so far.
The defence is still an issue for Liverpool and will need to improve this in the long-term if they are to keep up the good results. Dejan Lovren looks to be the main centre back figure after the departures of Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure. With fellow centre back Mamadou Sakho currently not included in Klopp’s first team plans, it looks as though free summer signing Joel Matip will be partnering Lovren. The left back position is also a concern for Liverpool with Alberto Moreno being dropped early on in the season and replaced by the versatile James Milner.
It’s not just the players and management that will help Liverpool keep up their good start, the expansion of Anfield in the long-term could also have an effect on them too. The renovation of the main stand was completed this summer and has risen the capacity of Anfield by around 8,500 making the total capacity 54,074. Football at the newly upgraded Anfield got off to a great start with Liverpool comprehensively beating Leicester City 4-1 in front of the biggest crowd at the stadium since 1977.
The lack of European football could help Liverpool keep up there high pressing football for longer but will still have to be weary of periods such as Christmas where they have six games in the space of four weeks in December. It could also be worth them going on a cup run in either the FA or League Cup to get Klopp his first silverware as Liverpool manager. If the defence can improve and be more reliable, then it would make a big difference to their league form and possibly help them to a top four place.
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