A recent study conducted by ESPN, Intel and the University of Bath has discovered that Liverpool FC dropped 12 points in matches affected by wrongly disallowed goals or incorrect decisions on penalties and red cards, meaning that the Reds were the ‘unluckiest’ team in the Premier League last season. The same study uncovered that Manchester United were the ‘luckiest’ team last term due to gaining 6 points over incidents that went in their favour.
I’m sure to certain throngs of the Liverpool support this may come as information that ‘they already know’ and have done for the last 26 years, however, looking at last season even if you reimburse those ‘missing’ points, that still leaves Liverpool floating 13 points adrift from Manchester City.
This is perhaps the reason why Jurgen Klopp has gone into the Summer transfer window hard and fast with quality very much being the theme over quantity. A lesson that is hopefully learnt from previous transfer windows when the mantra appeared to be, buy as many as possible, throw it at the wall and see what sticks.
Naby Keita (£52.75m) was signed up last Summer, spending the season at RB Leipzig, the Fabinho transfer (£39m) literally came out of nowhere, Xherdan Shaqiri (£13.75m) seems like a downgraded but able replacement for Coutinho and the record-breaking fee for Alisson Becker (£65m) from Roma will hopefully lay the demons of the much-maligned position between the sticks. That has brought Liverpool’s spending this window to £117m (£170.5m including Kieta – paid last year) which is no mean feat, although considering Manchester United paid £89m solely on Paul Pogba in the Summer of 2016 (£145m spent for the entire window) it’s still not insane money for four players that will at the very least improve the squad.
What has been the most encouraging sign about this Summer’s transfer window is that Liverpool are spending money on quality and all without selling any of their top players which hasn’t happened for a number of years. This is probably the strongest squad that Liverpool has boasted since 1987, however, this will have added pressures and one thing is for sure, Klopp must now deliver.
Now, before I’m accused by Manchester United fans of saying “this year will be our year” I assure you I do NOT expect a 19th league title in 2019, nor do I believe either to the owners. What we expect, and considering the strength of the playing staff it’s a reasonable expectation, is for Liverpool to be competitive once again in the Premier League. They need to bridge that chasm of 25 points from top spot.
There can be no more excuses, Liverpool for some time have had the starting XI that can tear teams apart, the only thing lacking was the squad to preserve that through a season, this now seems (fingers crossed) to be remedied. Of course, it remains to be seen how the new arrivals cope with life in the Premier League and more importantly with life on Merseyside, that goes double for Alisson Becker.
Liverpool v West Ham
Sky Sports 1.30 pm Sunday 12th of August 2018
This Sunday sees Liverpool start their Premier League Campaign at home to ambitious West Ham, who have also hit the transfer market hard and fast spending nearly £85m on 7 players, all buoyed by new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
I’m sticking my neck out but I genuinely can’t see anything other than a home win as Liverpool have come off the back of an impressive pre-season (last game tonight v Torino 19.30 LFCTV) so far and have much more stability than the visitors. Although Liverpool did struggle at times last season playing in front of the Kop I just think they’ll have too much for the Hammers.
Dunnie’s prediction: Liverpool 3 – 0 West Ham