Premier League 2018/19: 5 Reasons Why Liverpool Are The Real Title Favourites
While Manchester City absolutely dominated the Premier League in the 2017/18 season, one of the teams that caught the eye of many was Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. They may have ultimately finished the campaign in fourth place, but the Anfield outfit were many casual fans’ favourite team to watch.
Since arriving in the dugout, Klopp has brought a wave of enthusiasm and passion to one of Europe’s most famous, prestigious clubs. And in the 2017/18 season, that enthusiasm and passion were truly transitioned to the pitch as the German assembled a team full of attacking verve and free-flowing football.
Of course, that campaign would end with no silverware for the Reds, but there were plenty of goals and some truly mesmerizing performances to reflect on. That said, football is judged on trophies.
In addition to their fourth-placed Premier League finish, last year also saw Liverpool reach the final of the Champions League – losing out to Real Madrid after goalkeeper Loris Karius had one of the most infamous big-game nightmares in recent memory. The point is, though, Liverpool have a lot to build on from last season.
Sure, the majority of people have Manchester City already penciled in as the 2018/2019 Premier League winners, but let’s take a look at why Liverpool should be viewed as the favorites to take home that trophy come May 2019. And just to clarify, this article was actually started before Man City dropped points away at Wolves; a result that only benefits the Kopites’ title challenge even further.
The Leadership of Virgil Van Dijk
Sure, Liverpool have proven themselves to be one of the most powerful attacking forces in world football over the past 12 months or so, but let’s face it, they’ve been absolutely dire at the back. Well, until now, that is.
With the sight of calamitous Ragnar Klavan and dopey Dejan Lovren lining up at centre-back early last season being enough to have many a Liverpool fan breaking out in a cold sweat, the oft-mocked Liverpool defence has now become a genuinely solid and reliable part of the team. And key to that is one man: the glorious Virgil Van Dijk.
After a premature approach for the player saw all kinds of unrest ahead of the 2017/2018 season, Jurgen Klopp wasn’t able to land the Dutchman until this past January. And since marking his debut with a goal against bitter rivals Everton, Van Dijk has gone from strength to strength.
While VDV’s calmness under pressure and his ability to start play from the back is obvious, another of his main traits is that he has a huge influence on those around him. Showcasing his leadership skills, Van Dijk is always able to rally those around him, to use his calm presence to relax his teammates, and is similarly prepared to bark orders when necessary.
Unfortunately for their rivals, Liverpool’s defence is no longer the laughing stock it once was – to the extent where Virgil Van Dijk is even able to make Dejan Lovren look like a relatively competent footballer!