Can Klopp turn Liverpool into title challengers again next season?

Liverpool’s defence of the Premier League title in 2020-21 was dead before we ever got going.

The Reds fell behind early, lost key players to injury and never got going until the final months of the season. By that time, we were well out of the title race and battling for a top four finish.

With a fine end to the season, aided by Leicester City dropping points, Liverpool snuck into a third-place finish and Champions League football again next season.

Next season will see centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both back from injury, Jordan Henderson fit again and some potential fresh faces around Anfield. Not least because Georginio Wijnaldum has played his final game for the club.

The bookmakers currently have us down as second favourites for the 2021-22 Premier League title, but at odds of 6/1, we’re not greatly fancied. Manchester City will start another season as odds on favourites, looking to finish top for the fourth time in five seasons.

Chelsea are narrowly behind us, whilst this season’s runners-up, Manchester United, are back at 8/1 fourth favourites with 22bet.com.

Can Liverpool put up a title challenge next season?

It’s not out of the question. Jurgen Klopp having an injury-free squad to start next season will be a huge boost. No one can deny the importance of Virgil van Dijk’s loss and how it ruined our season in the opening weeks. Then to lose Joe Gomez and Joel Matip during the season meant at times we had midfielders Henderson and Fabinho partnering in central defence at times.

Mohamed Salah’s 22 goals shows he’s still in his prime, Diogo Jota scored 9 in 19 Premier league games (12 starts) before injury, whilst Sadio Mane could arguably improve on his 18 goal involvements (11 goals, 7 assists) next season.

How will Manchester City fare?

No one came close to Manchester City after they turned on the jets after Christmas and ran away with the Premier League. Their 86 points represents the fourth best tally in the club’s history.

Their 82 goals was the lowest they’ve scored in the past four seasons but they managed to concede just 32 despite the likes of Kyle Walker and John Stones in defence, whilst rotating a number of times at left-back.

Sergio Aguero is on his way after the Champions League final so don’t be surprised if the club spend big on a striker this summer. Harry Kane and Erling Haaland are both being linked and would be a huge blow for the rest of the Premier League.

Gabriel Jesus hasn’t reached the heights at City as Pep Guardiola has often rotated midfielders into the striker’s role this past season – Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva on having a go.

The signing of an out-and-out striker like Kane or Haaland would likely only see Manchester City’s title odds drop further with the bookmakers.

Prior to this season though, Klopp had guided us to 97 and then 99 points, showing what we’re capable of when we’re not plagued with defensive injuries. We’ll certainly be able to give them a tougher title challenge than the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, that’s for sure.

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