Premier League 2018/19: SWOT Analysis Of Liverpool
We are less than 24 hours away from kicking off the 2018/19 season, as Premier League clubs prepare for another nine months of intense league competition.
One of those clubs is Liverpool, and the Merseyside team would have lofty ambitions of returning to the zenith of English football, having spent a total of €182.2m on new arrivals, including a £67m previously record fee for goalkeepers to bring Alisson Becker to Anfield from AS Roma.
The Reds were once the dominant force in England, dominating domestic and continental competitions in the 1970s and 1980s, as legendary players like Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and Bruce Grobbelaar led them to unprecedented success on the field.
However, those times are long gone, and the reality is that Liverpool has been replaced by Manchester United and more recently Chelsea and Manchester City at the pinnacle of English football.
There has been no domestic league title since 1990, while only three major trophies have been won since 2005.
The arrival of Jurgen Klopp from Dortmund in 2015 has helped restore some of the pride back to Liverpool, and there is a renewed sense of belief at the Kop, so The Reds would seek to build on the gains made in recent seasons by going one further and ending their 28-year wait for a league title.
They, however, have very tough competition in the form of the 'top six', and Liverpool would have to be on top gear if they are to achieve their season's objectives.
Using a SWOT analysis, I profile The Reds and their chances of success.
Strength: Key areas or qualities which the club possesses which puts it at an instant advantage, and makes it a contender
Weaknesses: Areas or qualities which put the clubs at an instant disadvantage and makes it weaker than its opponents
Opportunities: Areas or qualities with potential to make the team stronger than its rivals
Threats: Areas or qualities which have potential to make the team weaker than its rivals
LIVERPOOL - Strengths
In an unexpected narrative at the beginning of last season, Salah had one of the greatest debut seasons in Premier League history, seemingly breaking records every week as he banged in goal after goal.
Salah set a plethora of Premier League records, including for most goals scored in a 38-game season (32) and most goals scored by a Liverpool player in his debut season (44). He was deservedly named PFA and PWA Player of The Year among other personal awards.
The 25-year-old Egyptian scored a total of 44 goals, helping Liverpool to a 4th place league finish and a spot in the Champions League final.
On the strength of his performance last season, Mo Salah is in the running to be the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner, and if he can maintain this form heading into this season, Liverpool will undoubtedly fancy its chances of winning a first league title in 28 years.
Although Mo Salah got most of the plaudits, he was just the headline act, the protagonist of a brilliantly talented Liverpool attack. Klopp's gengenpressing style of football is suited to the abilities of Salah, and together with Sadio Mane and the grossly underrated Roberto Firmino, form one of the most potent attacking tridents in world football.
The trio scored a whopping 91 goals between them last season, as defenses found it difficult to contain their brilliance. Firmino was the selfless runner, constantly drawing back to drag defenders out of position and create spaces for his teammates to explore.
Mane used his trickery and speed on the wings to devastating effect, while King Salah was downright unplayable at times, embarking on Messi-esque mazy runs en route scoring goal after goal. The 'terrific three' will come in handy once more next season.
The signing of Xherdan Shaqiri will also prove a useful addition off the bench (as his terrific overhead kick against United in pre-season showed) and if this attack can show the kind of form it did last season, then Liverpool might find themselves walking together with the Premier League title in hand come May.