Liverpool confident of challenging for title
Adam Lallana believes “the signs are really good” for Liverpool to “get to the next step” and win a trophy under Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool have reached three major finals since Klopp took charge in October 2015 and although they’ve lost all three they’ve made major strides forward over the past 12 months with back-to-back top four finishes in the Premier League and finishing runners up in the UEFA Champions League in 2017/18.
So what’s the goal for this season? Lallana was asked if Liverpool are the biggest contenders to reigning champs Manchester City for the PL crown in 2018/19.
“That’s not for us to say, that’s for other people to speculate. But, of course, we are going to be in the pack who want to chase down City,” Lallana said. “Hopefully, Liverpool and three or four of the other top teams can squeeze a few more points out of City this year. That would make it more interesting.”
Lallana’s optimism is certainly shared by neutrals, pundits and supporters of the Anfield club, with Liverpool’s impressive summer spending set to give them a whole new dimension this season.
With Alisson arriving in goal, Fabinho in holding midfield, Naby Keita in central midfield and Xherdan Shaqiri as a back-up attacking midfielder, Klopp has upgraded in key areas and added plenty of strength in-depth.
Sure, it’s cost him $325 million over the past 12 months (if you count Virgil van Dijk’s $100 million arrival in January) but Liverpool now look like genuine title contenders and they certainly gave Man City plenty of problems in their record-breaking title campaign last season.
The pressing and pace of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino totally threw off City in a 4-3 defeat at Anfield in the league, while Liverpool beat them 5-1 on aggregate over two legs in the UCL quarterfinals to assert their dominance.
Although Lallana is correct to hope for help from the other title contenders in taking points off City, Liverpool must take care of business against bottom feeders in the PL. Last season they lost against Swansea and drew with fellow-relegated teams West Brom (twice) and Stoke.
For all of their high-pressing and speedy forward play, Liverpool must develop a Plan B this season if they’re going to chase down City. With Keita, Shaqiri and Fabinho on board, their options in midfield have been bolstered and with Alisson (the most expensive goalkeeper in history) in goal they should eradicate costly errors.