2018 Liverpool Betting Preview
There aren't many questions which of the top-six Premier League sides showed wisest transfer activity this summer.
That definitely has to be Liverpool – the Merseyside club that seeks its first trophy in the Premier League era.
The last time when The Reds have finished on top of the domestic league was 28 years ago, in 1990, under Kenny Dalglish’s management.
Jurgen Klopp is yet to win a trophy since ‘The Normal One', like he dubbed himself during his first press-conference, took the helm at Liverpool in October 2015. The German has lost three finals since his arrival at Anfield, including last season's UEFA Champions League showdown to Real Madrid. Nevertheless, his reputation and attractive soccer philosophy secure him enough credit from the club owner and the massive support by the fans.
Preseason Changes and Summer Transfers
Liverpool finished fourth in the last Premier League season and The Reds from Merseyside have now set their sights on the top spot. Some may be cautious and deny that, but it's pretty obvious that Jurgen Klopp's men have enough quality to play a significant role in the title contention. Liverpool's spending and a successful preseason are two of the reasons why their fans, some pundits, many neutrals and of course – the bookies, are considering Liverpool as the main challengers to dethrone Manchester City.
Jurgen Klopp arrived as the savior who must bring the glory days back to Anfield. We won't exaggerate if we say that this time the German boss of Liverpool did the best business of the summer. Bringing in quality players such as Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri will certainly strengthen the squad but will it be enough to justify the enthusiasm? Losing a player like Philippe Coutinho last winter was a huge blow over Jurgen Klopp's blueprint, but he has spent some big money ever since and Klopp cannot keep saying “we are building”.
Getting his signings done so early was beneficial because it gives Jurgen Klopp enough time to show what he wants from the new players, and get them up to the fitness levels he requires for the way he wants to play. And we all know how exhausting the so-called gegenpressing really is. However, the incredible pace that players like Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane produce up front is actually a benefit in all aspects of the game.
Winning the league is a marathon, not a sprint. Klopp perfectly knows that from his Borussia Dortmund days, but competition in the Premier League is on another level and the experience he gained so far in England should now be applied.
Just for comparison – Liverpool has lost just 5 but drew 12 games last season, which were the most from all top-six teams. If not all, Klopp must convert most of the draws into victories if he really wants to see his selection on top of the EPL standings in May 2019. This means that Liverpool needs to tighten up its defense which seems to be gradually improving when Virgil van Dijk joined the Merseyside outfit in January.
An improved squad depth and the same powerful attacking trio
To be successful in the Premier League you virtually need an entire second lineup that's talented enough to perform well in if it were a separate entity. Factors other than ability will be crucial in a long, arduous campaign. Moreover, Liverpool will have to play two domestic cups, as any other Premier League club, and will have to defend its continental reputation starting from the Champions League group stage.
Liverpool's magical attack appears to have no problem whatsoever, but they're such a unique trio that any deviation from the usual starters may potentially cause confusion in the line. We saw how vulnerable and ineffective Liverpool can be without Salah in particular when the Egyptian had to leave the pitch injured early in the Champions League final. Anyway, what were the options back then? Jurgen Klopp didn't have much choice with youngster Dominic Solanke being the only attacker on the bench.
This time situation appears to be different with new signing Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge have both looked good during the preseason. And if Shaqiri can be a reliable alternative on the wing, Sturridge can be one of England's deadliest strikers on his best day. Unfortunately, a long run of injuries and fitness issues may create skepticism on his long-term availability but if he manages to stay fit, he can definitely be a threat for every defense in the league.
Liverpool's central midfield is the most renovated line after the wild spending this summer. Although Emre Can left Anfield to join Italian Juventus, we have all reasons to believe that Jurgen Klopp boasts a stronger midfield line after the arrival of Naby Keita and Fabinho. Those two should be the first choice in a central midfield trio, which leaves plenty of options for the third spot – skipper Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and James Milner are all eager to play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would've probably been the third starter in this line but it was announced that he will miss the majority of the upcoming campaign due to an injury.
Betting on Liverpool
If Liverpool can get some impetus, especially after the opening rounds (their first five games are West Ham at home, Crystal Palace away, Brighton home, Leicester City and Tottenham both away), then we don't know how Manchester City will react under pressure if a team can stay close to them for most of the time. The Reds are contenders because of the way they play, and how they control games, but they also want to entertain and do not hesitate to attack. Perhaps one of the problems they face is whether they are going to be so heavily dependent on Mohamed Salah's goals again.
To be honest, if they hadn't signed Alisson we would not be backing them to win the league, but now we do. There have been a couple of seasons over the past years when they had a good squad but have been one short, and it was a stable goalkeeper they needed. We find decent value to place our outright bet on Jurgen Klopp's project – Liverpool can finally win the Premier League.
Potential Starting Lineup of Liverpool for the 2018-19 Premier League Season: Alisson Becker – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson – Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita – Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane. (4-3-3)