It was well documented how the injuries in defence last season decimated Liverpool’s hopes of retaining their Premier League crown.
With key figures returning at the back, and the addition of signings over the summer, the Reds look like they’re finally gearing towards the possession of defence capable of bringing the Premier League trophy back to Anfield.
A Promising Start
It’s certainly been a positive start to the campaign for a Liverpool side that has been backed to do well in many Premier League predictions. The Reds currently stand as the third-favourites with odds of 5/1 and have managed to keep three clean sheets in their first four league outings of the campaign. Keeping Norwich City, Burnley and Leeds United off the scoresheet will have delighted boss Jurgen Klopp, as his side have picked up where they left off after a positive end to last season.
The return of centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been a massive boost for Liverpool, with the Dutch international bringing his calmness on the ball, aerial presence and organisational skills back to the fold. The former Celtic and Southampton star was sorely missed for the majority of last season due to his serious knee injury, as was England international Joe Gomez. Having scrambled for defensive reinforcements in the last January window, Liverpool now appears to have good depth at the back. Van Dijk and Joel Matip started the 3-0 win at Elland Road, leaving some real quality on the bench.
Strength in Depth Key For Reds
With a long season ahead, and Liverpool hoping to challenge on multiple fronts, it’s vital that Klopp has various options in defence. Gomez, along with summer additions Ibrahima Konaté and Konstantinos Tsimikas, were on the bench against Leeds. It just shows how well the Reds management have done overall in strengthening the defence: from a major weakness to one of the strongest areas of the squad for Klopp, it’s a significant transformation for the title contenders.
The 2019-2020 Premier League title success saw the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino grab many of the headlines as a formidable attacking trio. However, so many titles in the past have been won on the back of a solid defence, and the Reds were no different as they conceded the fewest goals on their way to the English crown that season. Just 33 goals managed to get past Liverpool in their 38 games of the campaign. A remarkable record, and one they are hoping to emulate this season.
It’s, of course, early days in the season and there’s still a long way to go in what’s shaping up to be an open and competitive race for the Premier League title. The likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea all harbour the same ambitions to lift the trophy in May. However, the early signs have looked extremely promising for a Liverpool squad determined to prove they are far from one-season wonders.