Finding faults with Liverpool’s start to the Premier League has been like trying to find blemishes on Miss World. You’re not going to be able to find many! Jurgen Klopp’s men have been downright imperious at the start of the campaign, dropping only two points from their opening 13 matches.
Now a third of the way through the season, Liverpool fans can be cautiously optimistic that this is the year that they are finally able to end their 30-year title drought. The Reds are backed in the Premier League betting odds at 2/5 to win the crown, putting them as odds-on favourites to lift the title come the end of the term.
Their victory over Crystal Palace proved that there is so much resilience in the side. Even when the three points seemed to have escaped their grasp at Selhurst Park after Wilfried Zaha’s late strike had levelled the scores, Roberto Firmino found the net to snatch the victory for the visitors. It was important to maintain the momentum as Leicester have shown an appetite for the fight to attempt to keep pace with the Reds at the top. Add to the fact that Manchester City are always a threat, despite the healthy lead Klopp and his men have over their rivals.
Zaha’s goal did illuminate a slightly concerning statistic in the Premier League for the Reds. They’ve now conceded in six-straight games, while the club has only kept two clean sheets since the start of the campaign. It’s very surprising as last term Liverpool were outstanding at the back, shutting out their opponents 21 times in their 38 matches. There have been mitigating factors such as Alisson’s injury that ruled him out of the early stages of the term, while Joel Matip has been struggling with a knee problem. Adrian was a solid replacement between the sticks, although he had a moment to forget against Southampton, it didn’t cost his side. Dejan Lovren has been better in the past, but there are always concerns with his propensity to make high-profile mistakes.
Injuries are seemingly the only thing that could disrupt Liverpool’s surge for the crown. They’ve proven they can survive without the dynamic presence of their front three – with Firmino and Mohamed Salah both spending time on the sidelines. The Reds have even been linked with a potential move for Timo Werner in January to shore up their options in the final third.
It may not be a bad idea to consider transfers elsewhere – especially considering that they have the capital to spend. The lack of clean sheets will frustrate Klopp and he will be determined to remedy the issue. Virgil van Dijk provided the cure to their woes in the past, developing into arguably the best centre-back in the world. Handing him a permanent partner at the back could resolve the issues entirely – making the Reds almost unbeatable. On the other hand, losing the Dutchman for a period of time could be a fatal flaw and you do not need a great memory to remember what Liverpool’s defence was like before his arrival.
Serie A could be the place to look with Inter’s Milan Skriniar and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly reportedly available. Both players would be expensive and having already invested £80m in Van Dijk it remains to be seen whether the Reds would commit further resources to their backline. However, with the Premier League crown in touching distance for the first time 30 years – it begs the question. Can Liverpool not afford to seize the opportunity to strengthen their only potential downfall?