Strap yourself in, this one’s going down to the wire – again.
Liverpool ended the 2018/19 season just one conceded Leroy Sane goal away from recording arguably the greatest season in Premier League history.
The City forward’s 72nd minute strike against the Reds in January consigned them to their only defeat of the season, without it, Liverpool could have recorded an invincible season with eight points more than Arsenal’s 2003/04 heroes.
Instead, Jurgen Klopp’s men simply couldn’t edge their way beyond Manchester City but triumphed in the Champions League final to conquer Europe for a sixth time.
And they’re never gonna stop…
Liverpool’s young team has plenty of years ahead of it, they haven’t peaked, and Klopp will be determined to claw the Reds to their first title of the Premier League era – can they do it?
RadioTimes.com has rounded up everything you need to know about Liverpool ahead of the 2019/20 season.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 24, 2019
Where did Liverpool finish last season?
2nd. No team will ever play as well as Liverpool did from start to finish in 2018/19 and not win the top flight title.
They recorded enough points to have won the Premier League in 25 out of 27 seasons since the Premier League’s inception, the only two higher totals coming in 2018/19 and 2017/18, set by Pep Guardiola’s City.
Mohamed Salah couldn’t quite match the same explosive levels as his debut season with the Reds, but he was still a terrific threat.
He shared the majority of the goals with Sadio Mane who enjoyed his finest season to date.
Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold terrorised from deep to secure their places as the undisputed best full-back duo in the league, but for all the Reds’ offensive weapons, it was a towering Dutchman who inspired the charge…
Who is Liverpool’s key player?
Virgil van Dijk. Eyebrows were raised when £75m changed hands from Merseyside to Southampton for a defender, but in one season, Van Dijk has more than justified every penny.
The 28-year-old centre-back deserves every ounce of praise he has received since last season for his composed, immovable displays.
Dominant in the air, hard in the tackle, totally at ease drifting upfield carrying the ball, Van Dijk is a near-perfect all-round behemoth.
Attackers will appear to drift in and out of form based on confidence, fatigue, fitness and other factors, and when those off-days come, having a defence capable of standing resolute is essential for any title-chasing contenders.
Who is Liverpool’s biggest summer signing?
Sepp van den Berg (£1.3m). Doesn’t that just say it all about the state of Liverpool’s squad?
Van den Berg is the Reds’ only summer signing and at 17 years of age, he won’t be around the first team squad for a few years at least.
The 6ft2 centre-back made 22 professional appearances for mid-table Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle.
Liverpool’s squad is still growing, developing together and with Divock Origi being reincarnated as the iconic R9 himself, there’s no need for the Reds to heavily invest.
Picking up the title-winners of tomorrow is Klopp’s game, because if it ain’t broke…
Who is Liverpool’s manager? Meet Jurgen Klopp
Klopp is a showman, a box office manager at the peak of his powers.
He’s no longer to everyone’s taste with plenty of neutrals left unamused by his touchline antics and excuses ranging from ‘the wind’ to ‘dry grass’ to ‘the opposition had a few injuries and it spoiled our rhythm’ but whatever your opinion of the man, it’s hard to deny he is fantastic for the Premier League.
Klopp’s rock and roll football is a joy to watch with Liverpool transitioning between a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 with Roberto Firmino drifting behind frontman Mohamed Salah.
Jordan Henderson’s position was under threat when Naby Keita joined but the England international stepped up his game to become a monstrous presence in the middle, allowing the attackers to wreak havoc without a second look back.
Klopp’s relentless Liverpool style is almost as good as it gets, they have off days, but the boldness and intensity is a sight to behold.
Liverpool fixtures – The start
9th August: Norwich (H)
17th August: Southampton (A)
24th August: Arsenal (H)
Liverpool fixtures – The run-in
2nd May: Arsenal (A)
9th May: Chelsea (H)
17th May: Newcastle (A)
The fans say…
MATT LADSON, THIS IS ANFIELD
What is the mood like among fans going into 2019/20?
On the whole, it has to be positive, did we mention that we’re European Champions? Ok, let’s get that out the way early on then.
However, like Klopp has rightly said, last season matters for nothing now and it’s time to ‘write a new chapter’. With that in mind, there is some debate over whether the stance not to improve the squad from a position of power this summer is a wise one. It seems like quite a big gamble to rely on the same front three again to play almost non-stop without injuries.
There has been talk of a backup attacker being the player they want to sign, and that’s certainly where most fans would like to see the squad improved in the final weeks of the transfer window.
Who will be your key player this season?
Difficult to pinpoint just one player as it’s the collective that is important to a Klopp side, but Virgil van Dijk’s influence cannot be understated.
Any young talents to look out for?
Rhian Brewster has been on the verges of the first-team squad for some time now and would have debuted sooner had it not been for serious injury hampering him. The teenager has looked good in pre-season and Klopp has shown massive trust in him to effectively say he is the replacement for Daniel Sturridge in the squad.
Beyond that, teenage new signings Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott, plus Ki Jana Hoever should all be in and around the first-team squad this season. Liverpool’s future appears very bright.
Which areas can Liverpool build on this season to edge past City this time around? Can Liverpool even improve?
When a team gets enough points to win any season in the history of English football except for two, it shouldn’t really be needing to improve. 97 points is an incredible points total and only City’s exceptional, unprecedented form skews just how good Liverpool were last season.
So to overhaul City is going to be extremely difficult. It will take some luck – for Liverpool and against City. It may also require players who are being deemed as ‘like new signings’ to be exactly that; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana and Brewster.
If Liverpool are going strong in the title race and Champions League once again towards the end of the season, would you be keen to prioritise either of the competitions? Do you think that would have an effect?
It didn’t have an effect last season and I actually think the Champions League can help create that unity and must-win ethos within the club. That said, every Liverpool supporter would rather win the Premier League this coming season. The owners have said it’s the priority and rightly so.
Where will you finish in the Premier League?
Second. Unfortunately we are the equivalent of Andy Murray being in an era when Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are in his way.
Where will Liverpool finish? RadioTimes.com says…
It’s almost impossible for Liverpool to improve on last season but that’s not necessarily a worrying fact.
City are the only other side capable of winning the league this time around, and despite their midfield and attacking options looking stronger than ever, it’s hard to feel fully inspired by their Vincent Kompany-less defence.
There’s a reason the big Belgian was trusted throughout the run-in, and without his presence, City may not have triumphed in the end.
This season is not about Liverpool improving, it’s about maintaining their immensely high standards, and if they do that, even City will find it tough to keep pace.