Sunday draws ever closer. Day by day. It’s another Premier League season for Liverpool and we are here to tell you all about what to expect from Anfield this campaign. Despite the heartbreaking defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League Final, never has the optimism been as infectious and contagious than in comparison to the build-up to the 2018/19 season. For all of those neutral fans looking for their scoop. Sit back and enjoy, here is the Liverpool season preview.
It’s time to kick on
Last season was very promising for the Reds, despite no silverware there was a lot to be positive about but the Anfield faithful got a true taste of Jurgen Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’, exciting, attacking football. Lots of opportunities to reminisce about what might have been. But with that comes plenty of cause for optimism. Liverpool were by no means good enough to win the Premier League last year and supporters should not underestimate the quality that Pep Guardiola’s City still possess.
That said, the football that Liverpool played last season at times was delightful and an absolute joy to watch. The league position possibly did not justify the quality that the squad has and has now added to.
Scousers in the Old Soviet
Liverpool had a representative playing in this summer’s World Cup Final as well as playing two months earlier in the Champions League Final. Croatia’s Dejan Lovren put in some extraordinary performances to place himself amongst arguably the two biggest fixtures in world football. Out of eight Liverpool representatives that went to Russia, six reached the quarter-final stage.
With good performances brings out supreme confidence, and Lovren is the perfect example of this. On Sunday he will embark on his fifth season at the club and the rate of improvement that the 29-year-old has carried on his shoulders. Simon Mignolet also featured for Belgium but had little to almost no impact on proceedings.
So, there are many more positives than negatives for the Reds to take on board. Captain Jordan Henderson returned to pre-season training late along with Trent Alexander-Arnold after their heroic efforts with England, looking to take their Russian form into the new Premier League campaign.
From Chester to America and back
One of the more enjoyable pre-seasons of recent memories, trips to Chester FC, Tranmere Rovers, Bury and Blackburn were all part of the initial North-West tour, in regard to the fans, who hadn’t come down from the hype of the epic European adventure. A trip to America followed and included victories against the likes of both Pep Guardiola’s City and Jose Mourinho’s United sides. The first team sprinkled with some crucial minutes for our youth team means a bright future for the youngsters under Klopp’s leadership.
Despite only one defeat against Dortmund, Karius mistakes, and despite the positive aroma surrounding the club at present, we can’t look too much into it. Everything can change come Sunday and in football, attitudes can change very quickly in the space of a few bad results.
2018/2019 Liverpool Season Preview
This coming season has the potential to be an exciting one. With some phenomenal new signing walking through the doors of Melwood and the issues in the squad potentially resolved, anything can happen, and the tools are there to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title.
Klopp has kept the squad together and filled in the voids that were significantly short in reserve. Fabinho was the first player through the door, just 48 hours after the Champions League Final in Kiev. What a way to change the mood in the camp, with no hints from the media at any stage that a deal was imminent, it kind of, just happened. With no true holding midfielder at the club, it will free up the likes of Jordan Henderson to use his range of passing to the team’s advantage and press further up the pitch. With the Englishman returning late to pre-season training after an extended holiday, it is likely he will not start on Sunday.
Liverpool fans finally got to see Naby Keita in a Liverpool shirt after a pre-contractual agreement was made last summer for the RB Leipzig midfielder to move last month. The 25-year-old looks an exciting prospect, after playing for 45 minutes against Chester and Tranmere Rovers, he looks like he is raring to go for the new season.
Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri was next through the door with a cut-price cost of £13m, a bargain, some say. The Swiss attacking player brings many qualities to the side and gives Klopp not only another dimension but also strength in depth which Liverpool sides of yesteryear have been crying out for.
A lot of pre-season chat has been about the German shot-stopper Loris Karius, who looks like the demon is hanging over his shoulders after various mistakes have been made during friendlies. Despite Klopp refusing to criticise him, he finally got his man as Roma goalkeeper Alisson finally got his move to Merseyside, in excess of £52m. One that’s got Liverpool fans dreaming of what could be in May now that defensive frailties appear to have been filled in.
So to summarise, this season has big potential. Expectations are high, there has never been excitement like it for an opening Premier League season.
The Reds are expected to start with a bang, with the likes of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane leading the line once more, whilst new supply from midfield will be expected to be involved from Fabinho and Keita. Those two could have a huge impact on the game if teams come to Anfield and sit back like the issues were last time out.
Xherdan Shaqiri isn’t expected to feature quite as much as his fellow new recruits but can provide that crucial bit of flair during critical stages of football matches that effectively could be used to unlock opposition defences.
For now, we will have to wait for the West Ham game to come around, where the Reds will provide us with a clearer picture of what 2018/2019 hold. Cross your fingers.
So what do our writers’ think of the pre-season hype, and do their opinions differ in any way? We asked our intelligent team of Liverpool writers to share their thoughts on the forthcoming campaign as we head into the first game of the season against West Ham on Sunday. Here are the additions to the Liverpool 2018/2019 season preview.
We’ve been here before, haven’t we? We all get carried away, we all get swept up in big-money buys, we all think that this is it, this is the year. There have been twenty-seven years previous to this one in which we have felt this way. This year though, this year is different. We have been building towards this year since Jurgen Klopp came to the club in October 2015. We have been biding our time, buying the right players, implementing a system and transfer strategy to compliment that system. Now is the time to strike. Now is the time to pounce. Now is the culmination of the past three years of rebuilding and teaching.
After the Champions League final defeat in May, Rio Ferdinand said, “This isn’t the end for Liverpool – it’s only the beginnings.” He was wrong though – we were in the midst of this process then. We were only just beginning to see the fruits of it. Klopp has been putting this jigsaw together piece by piece since his appointment. First, it was Mane, then it was Salah, then it was Van Dijk. Now it’s Alisson to provide stability in goal, Fabinho and Keita to add aggression in midfield, and Shaqiri to add genuine quality in depth. Liverpool went up a level last season, but they did the season before that and the season before that. We’ll go up another level this season and, judging by the heights we hit last season, who knows where that will take us.
It’s been a very good transfer window for the Reds with some quality editions to the squad. We have strengthened the spine of the team from Allison who is an excellent goalkeeper and a much-needed upgrade on Karius. Naby Keita and Fabinho are top quality midfield players who will make us stronger in that department. Shaqiri is a shrewd acquisition who can cover numerous positions and has a point to prove to the football world. Klopp’s side now has all the attributes to make this a fantastic title race.