Liverpool failed to maintain the standards of the outstanding run between 2018 and 2020 in the 2020/21 campaign, failing to compete for the Premier League and Champions League crowns. The Reds were nothing short of sensational between 2018 and 2020, winning the Champions League by overcoming Tottenham before ending their 30-year drought without the top-flight crown.
The time and energy spent on the field along with the loss of key players to serious injuries resulted in a failure to compete in the Premier League last term. A late run of results allowed the Reds to snatch a Champions League place at the death, highlighting the quality and the clinical edge the squad still possesses.
Leading By Example
One of the leading lights in the team was Andy Roberton. The left-back was a mainstay in a Liverpool team plagued by injuries. The Scotland captain will lead his fellow countrymen out at Wembley – The Scots are at long odds of 25/1 in the England v Scotland betting to triumph over England, who are second favourites to win the tournament. Scotland will hope to defy those odds and try to get their first win in the Euros.
Another Liverpool player who rarely misses a game is captain Jordan Henderson. He has rarely been off the field over the last three years but has been recovering from a groin in since February. He was picked by Gareth Southgate for the England squad but questions still remain over his fitness. The time away from competitive action might be a blessing for him due to the rigours it has placed on his body, especially with his style of play.
Trent Alexander-Arnold pulled up before the tournament with a thigh injury, another sign of toil on the body of the full-back, who has been a presence for the Reds at the back. Alexander-Arnold’s form suffered in the 2020/21 season, although injuries elsewhere on the backline and the number of games played were perhaps mitigating factors for his troubles. He too will benefit from the additional time to heal up in the bid to avoid burnout.
Van Dijk Liverpool’s Biggest Miss
Virgil van Dijk’s ACL injury loomed over Liverpool’s season more than most. His excellence at the back and leadership were a huge miss. However, the Dutchman rarely missed a game before his injury and no doubt would have been playing right through into the summer for the Netherlands had he been fit. Given that Liverpool have not found a consistent partner for him yet, the ability for him to have an extended period to relax and recuperate ahead of the new season will no doubt benefit Klopp’s men, who will want their key men on the field for every minute of the next campaign.
The fact that a contingent of Liverpool’s key players have the ability to relax ahead of the new campaign is in stark contrast to Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea’s squads. It could give Liverpool the upper hand in the title race in the early stages of the campaign, allowing them to put the pressure on their rivals with a fresher squad than they have been able to put on to the field over the last three years.