2015/16 Finish: 8
The departure of Brendan Rodgers and arrival of Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool fans smiling again. Klopp’s C.V. is very impressive with successful spells at Mainz and, more famously, Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool were very inconsistent last season, but with Klopp joining after the season started, that was to be expected. When things clicked for the Reds, they were almost unplayable. With the likes of Coutinho, Firmino, Origi, and Sturridge (when fit), the Merseyside club would terrify any defense when firing.
Transfers In: Matip (CB), Karius (GK), Mane (LW), Klavan (CB), Manninger (GK), Wijnaldum (CAM).
Liverpool’s business this window has been decent, but far from what I expected to see with the new boss at the helm. Matip will be an improvement at CB over Skrtel, who has left the club, and could form a solid defensive partnership with Dejan Lovren, if the latter continues to improve under Klopp. Mane and Wijnaldum, while rather inconsistent, it can’t be refuted that the attacking duo are very talented. If the German boss can get Mane and Wijnaldum to play consistently to the best of their abilities, the two will prove to be pivotal signings as Liverpool aim to get back to their best. Mane signed with Liverpool after two successful seasons with Southampton. Mane is a lively and direct attacker, he runs at defenders and will add another dimension to Liverpool’s already dangerous attack. The Senegalese winger scored 21 goals and assisted 9 times in his two Premier League seasons for the Saints. Wijnaldum is a bit less of a known-quantity. The versatile Dutchman only have one Premier League season under his belt, in which he was relegated with Newcastle United. Wijnaldum has the ability to add pace, trickery and incisiveness to the Reds, but will have to prove his worth first. Klavan and Manninger will provide depth and experience at Liverpool, but will most likely not be a part of the best XI at the club. Loris Karius, a 23 year old German goalkeeper, will provide competition for Mignolet and push the Belgian to either perform or lose his spot.
Transfers Out: Sold: Teixeira (CAM), Sinclair (FW), Vigouroux (GK), Rossiter (CM), Canos (RW), Skrtel (CB), Ibe (LW), Allen (CM), Smith (RB). Released: Toure (CB), Enrique (LB), Yesil (RW). Loaned: Ward (GK), Bogdan (GK), Flanagan (LB).
Liverpool have managed to move on some players and with the ridiculous prices of the current transfer market, managed to make some good money in doing so. Just from the sales of Ibe and Allen, Liverpool made a whopping £28m. The club managed to get rid of fringe players and those that did not fit the “gegenpressing” style of Jurgen Klopp. Unfortunately for the Liverpool supporters, there will no longer be any renditions of the “Kolo Toure” song, which is the most important loss for the club this offseason.
Key Player(s): Philippe Coutinho
Since coming to Anfield from Inter Milan, the little Brazilian has been a sensation. Coutinho is yet another tricky attacker that Klopp has at his disposal. The creative attacking midfielder pulls the strings at Liverpool, tallying 21 goals and 20 assists in the league since joining the club in the 2012/13 campaign. Philippe Coutinho’s diminutive stature may seem like a disadvantage in the physical Premier League, but the Brazilian has not struggled to impose himself, proving that he can cope and excel despite his size.
With the additions that Liverpool have made to further strengthen their attack, Coutinho will be even more important. The likes of Mane and Wijnaldum will give him more options going forward and players to work off of, hopefully creating more space for the key man to exploit.
Predicted 2016/17 Finish: 6
Liverpool are an exciting prospect under Jurgen Klopp and promise more of what they showed glimpses of last season. With Klopp at the reigns, the Reds will be a club that no one wants to face. The gegenpressing style is one that has been extremely effective and one that harries teams when in possession. The style is based around hard work, quick ball recovery and transitioning from defense to attack in a single move. Liverpool will be a dangerous team that can hurt clubs in many different ways with their plethora of attacking options. If Liverpool can continue to progress under the German, they can be his “English Borussia Dortmund”, for now, we have Liverpool threatening the top four, but ultimately finishing 6th in an increasingly competitive league.