Are Liverpool contenders or pretenders?

With the English Premier League set to begin later this month, teams are certainly trying to put on the finishing touches before kicking off the new season.

With Manchester City claiming the throne last campaign, other teams are expected to try their best to tweak their squad to rival the Citizens.

Many new names have arrived and are set to play in the EPL, and Liverpool were no exception as they were one of the busiest teams during the summer as they try to improve on last year’s performance.

Finishing fourth in the league, the Reds also came close in the UEFA Champions League as they reached the final – but it was still ultimately a barren campaign as they won no titles.

However, this year looks different and Jurgen Klopp has completely retooled the squad where there are many considering the team as the biggest contender against City in the coming season.

How good can Liverpool be and are they a real threat to City this year? Here are a few things to consider heading into the 2018-19 season.

NEW NAMES CONTINUE HEAVY-METAL FOOTBALL

Easily one of the things that is noteworthy about Liverpool in the coming season is with how busy they were during the summer by bringing in four big names to the fold.

First was Naby Keita who had the deal completed last season but has officially moved to Anfield to join the Reds. His immense talent on the ball and pace should complement the dangerous offence that the team currently possess.

Fabinho was brought in from Monaco and will easily slot in as the defensive midfielder as the Reds part ways with German Emre Can. The Brazilian has been impressive in the early matches so far and has won praise for his play.

Xherdan Shaqiri was also brought in from Stoke City and he provides another dimension in the attacking midfield for the Reds and can also take the place of either Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah in various occasions on the pitch.

Finally, Liverpool seemingly addressed the questions raised about their goalkeeping, signing former AS Roma keeper Alisson on a big-money deal that seems likely to end their woes between the sticks.

Outside of these Signings, Klopp does not have any significant players leaving the club outside of Can and Jon Flanagan who went on a free transfer to Scottish club Rangers.

This keeps the core intact and can only do good for the team moving forward.

SCORING PROWESS STILL THEIR BEST WEAPON

Last season, Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino wreaked havoc in the league as they scored 91 goals across all competitions.

This is an absurd number and it is likely that they have to continue doing so in order to help the team move forward.

The addition of players like Keita and Shaqiri will surely help, especially given the fact that outside of the trio, the next names on the top-scorers’ list are Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – all are not going to be around in the coming campaign.

In the pre-season, it appears Mane and Salah have not lost their touch, scoring comfortably when needed but other players like Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and even Danny Ings must find the back of the net in order to help with the load their offence carries.

The high-intensity football is to be expected from Klopp’s men, but if their top three players continue their pace and the others decide to step-up as well, then it is going to be a very scary sight as Liverpool climb the table.

KEEPING HOME A FORTRESS AND TURNING ONES TO THREES

Liverpool went unbeaten at Anfield throughout the entire EPL campaign last year, with their last loss back in April 2017 against Crystal Palace.

This is noteworthy as the team should continue to ensure that Anfield remains a tough place for any team to play in, and getting points in these matches is essential especially in a race to the top.

However, the footnote to this accomplishment remains that in the 19 matches they played at Anfield, they drew 12 times. This includes draws against Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Burnley.

While not all matches can be won, the Reds should try to get maximum points against teams they are expected to beat.

This gets compounded with the fact that the Reds only won nine matches in the league away from home, with draws and losses are at five each.

Most noteworthy matches that should have resulted in wins away from home are against Swansea City, Newcastle United and Watford.

ARE THEY REALLY CONTENDERS?

Simply put, the answer is yes. Klopp and the Liverpool management have done the necessary homework on where to improve the squad and addressed it with good signings.

An example is in the goalkeeping department, the Reds had 17 clean sheets last year and had five of their last six EPL matches end without their opponents scoring a goal. It is definitely a good step forward as a whole and adding someone like Alisson to the mix makes things even better.

Of course, the measurement of a success of the club is in the silverware that they haul before the next summer begins, but the Reds are a very compelling team that seemingly have all the right tools ready to be utilised and a manager who is more than willing to go to battle alongside his players.

Furthermore, the Reds may have erased the jinx that followed them the past years as they went through the summer without losing their top players. With Salah signing his future with the Reds, it may only be a matter of time before they are again considered as one of the continent’s top teams.

Everybody is now seeing the potential that the team has since Klopp arrived, and the 2018-19 English Premier League may be that time for the Reds to rise.

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