Following Jürgen Klopp’s maiden season in charge of Liverpool, the reds have made a dream start to the 2016/17 season. The transformation from the team the charismatic German inherited from Brendan Rodgers to the side currently at the summit of the Premier League table has been an incredible one, a change not even the most optimistic of Liverpool fans would have been able to predict.
The metamorphosis from the team that was struggling to scrape a win against the likes of Bournemouth and Aston Villa at home, to one that is capable of bullying some of the top sides in English football is nothing short of miraculous. Klopp is fully deserving of the highest praise for his efforts to change his team’s performances from mediocre to amazing and, in turn, changing fans from doubters to believers.
During a frustrating transfer window for Liverpool followers, as reinforcements in key areas were neglected, with no left back or defensive midfielder to speak of, the season got off to a flying start at the Emirates as goals from Lallana and Mane and a double from Coutinho helped Klopp’s men to a heart-pounding 4-3 win in Arsenals own back yard.
The following week saw the first stumble of the campaign as Burnley overcame the odds and inflicted the first loss upon the reds as Sean Dyche’s men ran out 2-0 winners at Turf Moor.
However, from there, Liverpool have gone undefeated in all competitions, reaching a League Cup quarter final tie against Leeds United and failing to win just thrice in a further ten league games.
This is no feat to be ignored as in that time Liverpool have faced Spurs, Leicester, Chelsea and Manchester United and come away with 8 of 12 points, placing the reds comfortably in contention for a top four spot or, perhaps more ambitiously, the Premier League title.
Following the 0-0 draw away to Southampton, a game in which the Saints failed to register a single shot on target, numerous fans were left frustrated at the fact the Reds returned to Anfield with just one point. This disappointment only serves to emphasise the standards Klopp has set for Liverpool fans, as coming away from Southampton with a point and a clean sheet is no result to look down upon.
Undoubtedly the bitter taste left in fans mouths is attributed to the sheer amount of chances there were to take all three points from St Marys, all of which were either squandered or saved. Perhaps on another day it could have been a 4-0 win but it turned out to be ‘one of those days.’
Regardless of this result, fans should not let the attack’s lack of bite on this day overshadow their stellar performances throughout the rest of the season. Currently the highest scoring team in the league with 30 goals the Reds have looked like they’re capable of scoring each time they go forward.
With the front three of Firmino, Coutinho and Mane scoring for fun and the supporting cast of Lallana, Can and Henderson pulling the strings, going forwards it has been an attacking masterclass.
In defence it has been a significantly less successful story, although in recent weeks things have started coming together. New boys Karius and Matip have looked increasingly comfortable and with Milner slotting into the left back position effortlessly, it looks to be only a matter of time until Liverpool’s defensive solidarity is capable of rivalling their potency in attack.
The quality of players sitting on the bench is capable of rcompeteing with some Champions League sides’ starting XI. With the likes of Sturridge, Origi, Wijnaldum, Klavan and Mignolet, there’s enough quality on the bench that the game could be turned on its head in an instant with any of the aforementioned players joining the fray.
With nearly a third of the season played, the position in which Liverpool find themselves is an all too unfamiliar one, though one, it seems, they should be getting used to. The winning mentality of the likeable German at the helm serves as a testament to this point and, as this season progresses, we could very well be speaking of a Liverpool side that are in a position to deliver the Premier League title to the Anfield trophy room.