Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Question That Lingers On: Are Liverpool A Serious Title Contender This Season?

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Prasoon Sur
Prasoon is a law student who lives in the North East of India. Wildly innovative, football is more than a passion for him.

It would not be unfair to underline that the fans of a dozen of Premier League clubs were envious at the appointment of Jürgen Klopp as the manager of Liverpool Football Club, and quite rightly so. Seven games in his first full season in charge of Liverpool and we are already witnessing an evolution that has been on a rise. Five wins, including victories over Arsenal, Leicester City and Chelsea have left a thumping impression of the German and his comrades’ ruthlessness and the way they have imposed themselves as potential title contenders this season.

Apart from the stumble against newcomers Burnley (after a stupendous win over Arsenal; yes, they resembled RobinHood like character), the Reds have netted three or more goals on as many as five occasions and have given every reason to their rivals to not take them lightly this season. Their charismatic improvement and the way they have been firing on all cylinders suggest their sheer attacking nous and inclination to completely belittle the opponents with pace, power, vigour, creativity and precision.

Notably, the entire team seems to have acclimated Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’ philosophy which was so evident against the mega clubs from London. The ability to strive for and retain possession, particularly in the sectors high up the pitch has caused real damage to the opponents and slowly but surely, this particular aura is turning out to be the standout tactical nous in the Premier League. The Merseysiders are a constant threat upfront and there is a growing feeling that this might well be their season to squander.

Klopp’s gamble, be it in the transfer market or playing with the formation and roles of his personnel, are also yielding him high dividends. Sadio Mané and Georginio Wijnaldum have hit the ground running, whereas the versatility and command of James Milner were put to limelight as the former Borussia Dortmund boss has started to utilise the Englishman at the left back slot.

The pre-existing players like Adam Lallana, Phillippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have been absolutely lethal and are likely to get better as the days go by. The Reds have been bagging points and without any shadow of doubt, they have been plying their trade in the most attractive manner.

18 goals so far this season with most number of passes, dribbles and shots on target in the league is a statistical reminder of how well Klopp has assembled the attacking sphere of his side. The defence, however, is a different story.

Liverpool’s attack might seem wonderfully crafted, but loopholes at the back aren’t something they would like to be sorted late in the season. Their defence has been leaking goals and no clean sheets and sudden lapses in decorum and consistency might haunt Liverpool in the long run, and thus addressing them holds paramount importance.

There is a special excitement and jubilation in the Anfield crowd which revolves around the prospect of Liverpool finally lifting the English Premier League trophy, something that has been elusive to them since the very inception.

If resilience can be blended with the adventurous attacking instincts in the final third, Jürgen Klopp and his side can surely ink their name in the pages of history that would linger on for ages in the hearts of ever enchanting Liverpool fans.
The dream is definitely on!

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