Liverpool go into the season with enormous optimism on the back of being Champions League runners-up and enjoying a strong league campaign. The challenge now is whether they can take the extra step and secure silverware.
Last season Liverpool surprised many by reaching the Champions League final but Jürgen Klopp’s clever recruitment shouldn’t have been underestimated. After a disappointing 2016/17 season, Klopp strengthened key areas of the squad including centre-back and left-back. However, it was the incredible form of Mohamed Salah that drove Liverpool to the pinnacle of European football.
Entering the 2018/19 season Liverpool will be full of confidence despite losing out to Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Having taken a massive step forward last season the mood in the dressing room is that they are on the brink of major honours.
Liverpool prioritised the Champions League last season after securing a top-four finish. The Reds only met expectations in the league but it was the best they could hope for considering Manchester City’s dominance. Meanwhile, their domestic cup performances were well below par and they must improve this season.
Manchester City ran away with the league last season and were comfortably the best team domestically. However, these days it is rare that a Premier League team defends their title, a fact which will give the chasing pack a lot of hope.
Liverpool will be amongst those vying for the title and they look in a good position to challenge. Their squad looks much stronger than last season and they have a new-found belief that they are genuine contenders.
It is unlikely that Liverpool will reach back-to-back Champions League finals which should enable them to focus more on the league. The Premier League is arguably the toughest league in the world though but there will be few excuses for not challenging for the title. However, at this stage, there is no sign of Manchester City crumbling and Liverpool may struggle to knock them off their perch.
Prediction: 2nd place finish after a tough battle for the title between multiple teams.
With the exception of Real Madrid, every top team in Europe would find it extremely difficult to reach successive Champions League finals. However, that is what Liverpool will be tasked with this season.
To say that Liverpool were underdogs in the competition last season would be an understatement. Few saw Liverpool getting past the quarter-finals in all honesty, but they’ll be expected to do so once again considering their exploits last season.
If Liverpool want to continue to operate as one of Europe’s elite teams, they’ll have to get used to the weight of expectation. They do have a much stronger squad than last season though so there’s no reason why they couldn’t and shouldn’t go far.
Prediction: Liverpool will have to get to the quarter-finals but they’ll need luck on their side to progress further
Liverpool managed just one win in this competition last season which came in a Merseyside derby when Virgil van Dijk scored the winner against the Blues on his debut. However, in the following round, they crashed out to struggling West Brom – much to the anger of Liverpool fans.
This season Liverpool need to do well in the FA Cup. During his time as Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp has been accused of not taking the cup competitions seriously, although, in that game against West Brom, he fielded a near full strength side and still lost.
The domestic cups provide a fantastic opportunity for Klopp to earn his first silverware as Liverpool manager. To win the FA Cup he’ll need to figure out what has been preventing them getting to the latter stages.
Just like the FA Cup, this is another domestic cup that Klopp has really struggled with. Last season he failed to win a single game in this tournament after losing 2-0 to Leicester in the third round.
Like many of the big teams in England, Liverpool will be expected to field a heavily changed team in this competition. Some many criticise Klopp for not taking the League Cup seriously but it is increasingly seen as a very unimportant competition.
Liverpool will likely field a young team throughout the competition and hope that gets them as far as it can get. Truthfully, the manager, players and fans will collectively not care too much if Liverpool don’t win the competition but they should aim for a respectable cup run.
While this may be the strongest Liverpool squad in a quarter of a century, the dominance of Manchester City domestically, and the sheer quality in the Champions League means that the FA Cup and League Cup are still Jurgen Klopp’s best chance to end the Reds trophy drought. However, the strength of his squad means that they are seem to be well placed to stake a good challenge for the biggest prizes this season.