Next English Premier League Champions?
Liverpool have never won the Premier League in its current format. In fact, the last time Liverpool were crowned the best team in English football was 26 years ago, way back in 1990.
Then, what we now know as the Premier League was simply the Football League 1st Division. On three occasions (2002, 2009 and 2014) they have been runners up.
However in the history of English football they are the second most crowned champions of England with 18 league titles. They’re second only to Manchester United (20 titles) and many believe they do stand a better chance this year. Why, you may ask.
Jürgen Klopp is currently overseeing his second season as manager of the Reds, as they are famously known, after he last season relieved Brendan Rodgers of the job mid-way into the season. Though the team was relatively out of sorts when he arrived, he was able to steer them to a relatively successful season, going as far as runners up in the Uefa Europa League – a feat archived with players he inherited and were not necessarily his kind of players.
Klopp is a coach who believes in aggressive, all round high tempo football that, at best, leaves the opposition begging for the final whistle. This season he seems to be achieving that. He has a team now that in all sections are players that he has meticulously assembled to suit his playing style.
Liverpool is definitely a top English team and of all the top seven club sides on paper in England, Liverpool and Chelsea are the only two teams spared the energy sapping distractions of the lucrative Champions League and Europa League. This gives the relative advantage of being fresher and less stretched physically to fully dedicate their total commitment to the English Premier League conquest.
The kind of football Klopp likes to play, if sustained by his team when they face the other title contenders, is one that is a potential antidote to their rivals’ playing philosophies. But it has to be sustained.
Klopp’s ability to get his team constantly putting pressure on the opposition on the whole pitch is a style that will definitely bother title contenders like Manchester City, Arsenal,Manchester united,Chelsea and maybe Tottenham. These are ball possession-orientated teams who love to play out from the back with lots of space.
Having said all the above, Liverpool would need to take into consideration that to win the league, they also have to better manage their confrontation with the “little clubs” in the EPL.
In the past under Klopp that is where they have struggled. Liverpool’s sole defeat this season was not at the hands of other title contenders Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham, who they negotiated remarkably well, but at the hands of relatively lowly Burnley. That defeat is a major reason why they are not league leaders today.
It is no secret that the Sakho controversy is a sad and negative point in the Liverpool dressing room and a potential morale breaker for the team. How Klopp deals with this could prove decisive as the league progresses. Could there be a winter transfer window offloading sale in the air? Time will tell.
This talented Liverpool side, version 2016/2017: Jürgen Klopp, Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip, Loris Karius, Nathaniel Clyne, Emre Can, Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sadio Mané, Divock Origi, and Daniel Sturridge are a force to be reckoned with and collectively are world class. Underrating them will be at the peril of any other Premier League title contenders.