Will Jurgen Klopp bring silverware to Liverpool in 2017/18? Read our season preview with expert views from Soccer Saturday pundit Phil Thompson.
Last season’s finishing position: Fourth (+4)
Total points: 76 (+16)
FA Cup: Fourth round
EFL Cup: Semi-finals
Top league scorers: Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane (both 13)
Key stat: Liverpool excelled against the Premier League’s top sides but struggled when they took on its lesser lights. They were unbeaten in games against the other teams in the top seven – winning seven out of 12 – but lost six times in 26 outings against the clubs ranked eighth and below.
Major ins: Mohamed Salah (Roma, £34.3m), Dominic Solanke (Chelsea, compensation pending), Andy Robertson (Hull, £10m)
Major outs: Andre Wisdom (Derby, £4.5m), Lucas (Lazio, £5m), Kevin Stewart (Hull, £7.5m)
PHIL THOMPSON’S VIEW
Can Klopp deliver a trophy for Liverpool?
THOMMO: I think he can deliver a trophy, even without the remaining signings that he wants to make. I know a lot of Liverpool fans are nervous about a lack of activity but I think the squad is big enough – the aim is just to add players who are going to make the starting line-up. Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita were the players he was willing to pay big money for.
Everybody is panicking because players are coming in from abroad or from lower Premier League clubs, but I think the team showed they were good enough to compete for a trophy. Up until New Year’s Day we were realistically in contention for the title. I think the Van Diijk deal will still happen and I think Dominic Solanke was a fantastic steal from Chelsea. I hope he gets the game time he’s joined for.
Which of their players are you most excited about watching?
THOMMO: Salah is the one for me. To have Sadio Mane on one wing and Salah on the other, to have such pace in the side and two players who can go past players in the box is such an asset. Our title challenge failed when Mane was missing and I think Salah will be really interesting because he’s got great pace and makes intelligent runs in behind. He will be a huge asset.
What are the challenges facing the manager this season?
THOMMO: His main challenge is the Achilles heel of last season, and that’s not being able to put away the lower teams. There was a lack of a know-how to break down deep-lying defences.
What are their strengths?
THOMMO: Same as last year with that attacking group of players, Salah, Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana. I think they excited everybody last season with the way they linked up and interchanged.
What are their weaknesses?
THOMMO: I think it’s that little bit of creativity in central midfield. When Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson all play, Liverpool need a bit more forward-thinking play. Defensively we weren’t the best but we finished well and with an addition at centre-back and a strong midfield we’ve got a chance.
Where will they finish this season and why?
THOMMO: I think Liverpool will finish third. I would think we’ve got a good chance of winning a trophy, the FA Cup or the League Cup are well within our grasp, so as long as the team is progressing that would be a good return. This team hasn’t reached its potential yet and the key is to keep improving.
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