For English soccer fans too young to remember the 1980s, Liverpool may be one of the top sides in the country, but they don’t have the same reputation for success as Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or even Chelsea. After all, unlike those four teams, the Reds have never won the Premier League.
For anyone who saw them play in the 1970s and 1980s, the name Liverpool is synonymous with complete domination, silverware, and thrilling football. Perhaps their most remarkable quality was the way in which the winning mentality and successful style of play were passed on from manager to manager without any drop-in standards. From Bill Shankly to Bob Paisley to Joe Fagan to Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool maintained an astonishing continuity, dominating English football for 20 years.
Between 1972 and 1990 Liverpool won 11 First Division titles, 3 European Cups, 2 UEFA Cups, 3 FA Cups, and 4 League Cups. They have still won trophies, of course, most notably the Champions League in 2005, but they have never been able to re-establish that dominance, and, more importantly, they are the biggest club in England never to have won the Premier League. However, this year, Liverpool fans are daring to believe once again.
Fans who check out the sports betting markets will see the Reds prominent in the betting for this year’s Premier League title and they are popular with shrewd Premier League experts in every arena from online soccer forums to DraftKings Sportsbook.
This is largely down to the work of one man. Jurgen Klopp arrived from Germany in 2015 with a big reputation and has set about recreating the dynamic, exciting brand of football that he achieved with Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool finished 8th in 2015-16, 4th in 2016-17 and 4th again last season, but also reached the final of the Champions League in a thrilling campaign that saw them score sensational victories over Manchester City and Roma.
This season, they’ve started with an impressive consistency, beating West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Leicester to go into the international break with maximum points. A key element in their improvement this season has been the arrival of Naby Keita. The busy midfielder has added energy and solidity to the Liverpool midfield and enabled Klopp to tackle one of last season’s big weaknesses.
The 2017-18 campaign was notable not just for breathtaking attacking football, but also for defensive lapses, particularly when opposing teams countered. Keita enables Liverpool to transition more quickly into defense, while the arrival of a world-class goalkeeper in Alisson and Brazilian defensive midfielder Fabinho also helps them defensively.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, the rampaging trio of Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane continues to terrify opposition defenses and gives Liverpool one of the most potent forward lines in European football and favorite sites at NJ online sportsbooks.
All the pieces are in place for a Premier League challenge this season, but there remains one obstacle: Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s champions strolled to the title last season and they have continued where they left off, despite the absence of Kevin De Bruyne. They are, by common consent, the best team in England, and remain the side to beat.
As it happens, Liverpool did beat them, repeatedly last season, winning three out of four against the eventual champions, including a breathtaking two-leg victory in the Champions League semi-final. But City still finished an astonishing 25 points ahead of Liverpool in the table, a testament to their consistency. If the Reds are to end their long wait for a Premier League title, the key will not necessarily be to beat City when they go head to head but to match City’s ability to brush aside lesser teams and routinely accumulate points.
That’s why the solid start that Liverpool has made to the current campaign is so encouraging for their fans. In previous seasons, early points have been dropped against lesser opponents, leaving the Reds too far behind their rivals to push for the title. By grinding out four wins at a stage of the campaign when many of their players are still searching for match fitness or still recovering from the effects of the World Cup, Liverpool has shown the kind of consistency and determination that will be essential if they are to topple City. Gaining the Premier League title will be tough, but all the pieces are in place for a serious Liverpool challenge in 2018/19.