Everyone loves the unpredictability that sport throws up, with football regularly producing unusual results on a weekly basis. Of course, consistently defying the odds and winning the league is less frequent, which is why Leicester City’s Premier League title success in 2016 is a truly memorable one.
Given the unique circumstances that have impacted this season, particularly the lack of home fans, many felt the ingredients were there for another surprise. Instead, even at this early stage, it’s hard to look past Liverpool.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 25, 2020
The fact Jürgen Klopp’s side are even in a position competing at the top is remarkable. After all, they lost Virgil van Dijk, perhaps the best defender in the world, for the entire campaign. Soon after, defensive partner Joe Gomez joined him on the sidelines for a lengthy period. That doesn’t tell anyway near the whole story, though, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago, Jordan Henderson, Mo Salah and Alisson having all missed games, among others. Yet, the Liverpool machine rolls on.
Whether it’s relying on a moment of genius from magnificent new £45m recruit Diogo Jota, or hoping the academy lads can make the step up; the Reds always do enough. They always find a way. As a result, they hold a lead over Manchester City, the side many believe will be their biggest challengers, and they have qualified to the last 16 of the Champions League from a potentially tricky group.
Despite that, the latest Premier League betting odds have Klopp’s men at 2/1 to make it back-to-back titles, with City the slightest of favourites. On one hand, you can understand why many observers will back Pep Guardiola’s amazing squad to wrestle the league back. They are packed with talent, and on their day, they are probably the most devastating attacking side in Europe.
However, even with all that ability, they are currently behind a Liverpool side that has been savaged by injuries. Quite simply, things couldn’t have gone worse for Liverpool in these opening months, but they’re still ahead of the major contenders. That says so much about the mentality and winners that Klopp has produced at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp has given an update on how long he expects Thiago Alcantara to be out for.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 30, 2020
Over the coming weeks and months, we will start to see the big names return for Klopp, and the points will surely follow. Alexander-Arnold will make a huge difference with his quality on the ball, Thiago can pull the strings in midfield and that incredible front four of Jota, Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will frighten any defence.
Admittedly, losing Gomez and particularly van Dijk will be a blow, but Fabinho and Joel Matip give the team a solid base to build from.
Ultimately, you get nothing for a good start, and everyone in football knows that it’s about how you finish. But, the fact Liverpool have coped with setback after setback to ensure they are in a strong position ahead of this ridiculously busy period is ominous for their rivals. Klopp and the team are ready to kick on, and they may power ahead of the pack to secure another Premier League title.