Premier League Predictions: 1st place Liverpool

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In this Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019 file photo, Liverpool's Rhian Brewster, left, duels for the ball with Arsenal's Lucas Torreira during their English League Cup soccer match at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England. Brewster has long been tipped as a future England striker — he played in the country's World Cup-winning under-17 team in 2017 — and there's no doubt he is a natural goalscorer. “In the decisive moments, he’s 100% there," Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said after a preseason friendly in Austria when Brewster scored two goals. (AP Photo/Jon Super, file)

Liverpool was nowhere near my clear-cut favorite to win the league, but because they were able to maintain all of their key contributors on the pitch, I think they will win the league for the second year in a row. With a world-class defender in Virgil Van Djik and a three-headed monster in Mohamad Salah, Sadio Mane and Bobby Firminio, Liverpool have the capability to win the Premier League and, more importantly, the Champions League. 

Even with their lack of signings in the transfer window, Liverpool is still the biggest threat in the Premier League. However, unlike last season, I don’t think the Reds have a clear-cut path to the top of the table. Manchester City has upgraded in key positions and looks set to bring in another defender to partner with French center-back Aymeric Laporte. Liverpool brought in left-back Kostas Tsimikas, from Greek club Olympiacos, to back up starting left-back Andrew Robertson. The club is also pursuing Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara to add some creativity to their midfield.  

In my opinion, if Liverpool wants to stay at full strength the entire season, they need to bring in an attacking player who can come off the bench. Yes, I know they have Takumi Minamino, but the Japanese forward has yet to find his stride with the club. Champions League hero Divock Origi has struggled with injuries over the past season and isn’t the top attacking option you want behind Firminio. Xherdan Shaqiri has also struggled to fit into the side, as the winger has had countless injuries since his move to Anfield. So with such a long season and such limited attacking options on the bench, perhaps Jurgen Klopp should think about bringing in a forward player to add some depth to the squad.   

Now Liverpool is among the best teams in Europe and they are tactically the best team in the Premier League. In the games I’ve watched Liverpool play, they dominated possession and don’t allow their opponents to breathe when they have the ball. This playstyle is of course credited to Klopp as he’s turned things around at Liverpool since his arrival.  

One thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes Liverpool has a tendency to be sloppy. They seem at times unmotivated and unfocused. They seem to play with some sort of arrogance and Klopp has come out and personally ridiculed his team for their lack of effort and focus. In my eyes that could be Liverpool’s biggest weakness.  

Last season Liverpool ran away with the title and had a real chance to beat Manchester City’s point record, by a significant margin. After project restart, Liverpool didn’t play their best football. They dropped points to teams when they should’ve won without a question. At other times, it almost seemed like they expected teams to just show their stomachs. This type of mentality won’t work for the Reds this year. As I said before, teams are improving and are going to bring the fight to them.  

Overall, I believe Liverpool has the best chance of winning. I think their playstyle is very unique and it’s hard for other teams to get a grasp on how they will play. I think tactically they have one of the best coaches in the world and their squad is arguably, on paper, the best team in the world. The only thing that will hold Liverpool back this season is themselves. As long as the Reds remain focused and play with pride, I think the league is once again theirs for the taking. Liverpool opens up play tomorrow as they take on recently-promoted Leeds United at Anfield.   

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