Some open doors are worth pushing down Here’s one: Liverpool could have won the title with thirty or forty points ahead rather than eighteen as it wouldn’t have changed the fact that they entered the new season with zero on the clock The famous “safety margin” is a lure
Remember the one that it seems that Manchester City enjoyed after their second title in the Guardiola era, when City became the first team in English football history to make the Championship-FA Cup-Cup treble. the League
A frequently shared opinion, and which no one thought was insane then, was that Liverpool, who had pushed them to the end, would be unable to sustain such a sustained pace two seasons in a row His victory in the Champions League had also reinforced the perception that Klopp’s group was more built to produce “exceptional” results, in both senses of the word, and therefore to shine in knockout competitions, than to manage this curious mix of sprint and marathon that is a Premier League campaign A year later, one would have thought that England would see things differently, after the Reds had provided the proof by 99 points, and this, despite the immense psychological pressure that accompanied a wait of thirty years
Oddly, this is not the case No bookmaker – I say: none – sees Liverpool as the first candidate for his own succession; and when we talk about bookmakers, we also talk about their customers, for whom Manchester City is a very large favorite, to the point of being given less than 2 to 1 for the title, an odds that has something improbable when you consider that at least two other clubs (plus Liverpool) should join in the fight for the title – Chelsea and Manchester United -, and that it is certain that Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham, Leicester and Wolves will have their to say in the course of the season
There are certainly objective elements that support the skepticism around the champion’s chances It is inconceivable, for example, that Manchester City could concede nine defeats in thirty-eight matches like last season, and I come back to the truism with which I opened this column: what was has nothing to do with it. who is and what will be The proof is that in England, unique in Europe in the major leagues, the only club which has managed to retain its title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were crowned champions in 2008-09 is – precisely – Manchester City
Matches can also be singled out, and there were a few, in which Liverpool almost miraculously won last year, with the famous “champion’s luck” It takes so little – a slight lack of rhythm, an almost imperceptible drop in intensity – for this luck to turn that it is likely that the champion too will end up falling victim to it.
The Reds’ opening game, a gala 4-3 against Leeds de Bielsa, will also have confirmed in their opinion those who believe that Liverpool are more fragile than they think, that their game is so exhausting, physically and mentally, that they are likely to experience serious drops in diet In theory, the argument holds In practice, we will remember that it has been more than two years since Liverpool has not experienced these lows, unlike all its rivals
It is correct that Leeds showed how it was possible to trim the Reds’ wings – literally – by pressing with such density in the midfield, that the two main ball givers of the Mané-Salah-Firmino trio, at namely Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, had seen their offensive contribution reduced to a fraction of their usual return
Jack Harrison in a duel with Trent Alexander-Arnold during the match between Liverpool and Leeds, September 12, 2020
That Liverpool could be put in difficulty by targeting the spaces left free by their full-backs, we already knew But no one had yet managed to quell their threat as successfully as the D2 champion. If the promoted Leeds can do it, what can stop others from emulating them? But if the question is worth asking, we cannot forget that Ilian Meslier still ended up being beaten four times, and that Mo Salah, who we had felt dull after a record 2018-2019 season, played the ‘one of his best matches in the red jersey that day
Finally, there is the “lack of creativity” of the Reds noted by several English commentators Liverpool would struggle against low blocks, in placed phases of play, when there is no imbalance to exploit or a ball carrier to harass If this means that Liverpool have not yet reached perfection, absolutely: Liverpool have played without a real number 10 since the sale of Philippe Coutinho, and their midfielders, whether it is Fabinho, anchor point, of Henderson or de Wijnaldum, are more comfortable in dynamic situations than in closed contexts
Jürgen Klopp knows this as well as anyone, and it is not for another reason that the arrival of Thiago Alcantara in Liverpool was made official this Friday, a luxury solution to the supposed “problem” of the champion of England and the world in title These are not the ideas that will miss him with a Thiago to punctuate and guide the game in the heart of his midfield By the way, even in a market depressed by the pandemic, 30 million euros, or 5 million more than what Everton paid for Andre Gomes, it is not expensive paid for the Spanish playmaker, who was dazzling in the Champions League final
There is nothing unreasonable about the above reservations What is is to imagine that Liverpool are unable to evolve to meet them And couldn’t we formulate even more serious ones with regard to their rivals, Manchester City included?
Chelsea FVS, Liverpool FVS, Frank Lampard, Premier League, Jürgen Klopp, Thiago Silva
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