Liverpool have been outstanding in their run to the Premier League crown in the 2019/20 season. Jurgen Klopp’s men have been more or less flawless even though their recent dip has prevented them from surpassing Manchester City’s all-time points’ record.
The Reds successfully hunted down Pep Guardiola’s men to break their stranglehold of the division. However, Liverpool will become the hunted team and will have to react to strengthen their squad in the transfer window. Being the team that everyone raises their game against is a massive challenge and required perhaps even greater brilliance than the rise to the top.
As a result, City are backed in the football betting odds to reclaim their crown at the top of the Premier League. Both teams are yet to show their hands in the transfer market, with Chelsea making the early moves to set a tone.
Liverpool have shown signs of being worn down, especially since the restart of the campaign – notably in their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. It raises the question whether they have the depth of talent to retain their title amid fierce competition next season.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have been exceptional throughout the campaign. Their durability has perhaps been more important than their excellence on the pitch, playing consistently in all four competitions. However, there is a problem behind them as although Divock Origi has had his moments, the Belgian has not been overly convincing in part-time relief.
Xherdan Shaqiri appears to be on the move, while Takumi Minamino has taken time to adapt to the Premier League. The Japanese could be just settling into the top flight, although his brief appearances have not been overly encouraging. Fortunately for the Reds, Rhian Brewster has performed well in the Championship with Swansea, while Harry Wilson has had success on the south coast in the Premier League with Bournemouth.
Both players could slot into the roles behind the trio next season along with Minamino, easing the pressure on the club to splash out when the transfer window reopens. It’s a similar formula to Manchester United and Chelsea, who have found success blooding their youngsters.
The same principle applies in the midfield and defence where Neco Williams and Curtis Jones can take the step up to play a full-time basis if required. It will allow Klopp and the club’s hierarchy to focus on the key areas that need addressing not only in the short term, but also the future.
Jordan Henderson has been an inspirational leader in the middle of the park, but his drive and energy will have taken a hit this term. The 30-year-old will be out for a period of time with a knee injury and will have little time to prepare for the new campaign. Earmarking a replacement for the midfielder will be paramount.
Neither Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nor Naby Keita have been on form since the restart, while James Milner is on the back end of his career. Georginio Wijnaldum is a fine player, but he cannot hold down the midfield alone, especially against the elite teams in the league. Thiago Alcantara would fit the bill and provide additional quality to feed the formidable trio in the final third.
Another bold move would be to snatch Kalidou Koulibaly away from their Premier League rivals to secure a deal for the Napoli defender. Placing the Senegalese alongside Virgil van Dijk would hand the Reds the best centre-back pairing in the world, while it would also hand Klopp vital security in case an injury were to strike the Dutchman during the campaign. He has been the key cog in Liverpool’s rise and losing him would be close to a death knell without a quality replacement.
The Reds are going to find reaching the summit is a glorious achievement, but remaining there is even tougher.