5 things we’ve learned from Liverpool’s opening 8 Premier

Liverpool have made a tidy start to their Premier League campaign in trying circumstances, but what have we learned from the opening couple of months?

The Reds have picked up 17 points from a possible 24 so far this season and can feel somewhat aggrieved not to be even better off after the chaos that ensued at Tottenham.

Not many backed Jurgen Klopp‘s side to mount a serious title charge back in the summer, but the impressive showings of resilience have given fans plenty of reasons for optimism.

Somehow, another international break is upon us! While the stop-start nature of the early stages can frustrate many, it does offer us a chance to take stock of what we have witnessed so far.

We’ve picked out five of the main things that can be gleaned from the first eight games of the season.

 

The champions aren’t indestructible

We are often guilty of dismissing Man City as an unattainable force powered by endless resources and a ‘flexible’ approach to fair spending.

Liverpool know better than anyone that that is not always the case, having convincingly overthrown the Citizens in 2019/20 and taking the title race down to the final day on two other occasions under this manager.

Pep Guardiola’s side have looked far from their convincing best to this point, suffering back-to-back league defeats for the first time in eight years against Wolves and Arsenal.

History also dictates that no side have ever lifted four successive league titles in England and doing so off the back of an emotionally draining treble season will be no easy task.

The Reds positioned themselves just one point behind Man City heading into the break having had a much tougher set of opening fixtures than the current champions.

We are also all too aware of how capable they are of going on a winning run and showing a clean pair of heels to the chasing pack, but Liverpool are handily placed having already visited Tottenham, Brighton, Chelsea and Newcastle.

 

No. 6 questions

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister (R) during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s failure to land Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia in the summer saw them turn to Wataru Endo from Stuttgart, but the Japan captain has made just one league start so far.

Alexis Mac Allister has predominantly been the man tasked with filling the defensive midfield slot, with many arguing that this doesn’t necessarily cater to his attributes.

There were some who believed Ryan Gravenberch may be asked to cover at the base of midfield, but the early signs are that the manager views him as somebody more suited to the No. 8 role.

It begs the question, have the Reds left themselves short in that area and will it be addressed in January?

Links to Fluminense’s Andre persist and the Copa Libertadores will have reached its conclusion when the window opens, which could explain the club’s desire to hold out.

 

Europa League perks

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch (L) celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It wasn’t what the Reds were aiming for last season, but UEFA’s second-tier competition could provide Klopp with an ideal opportunity to spread the minutes around his squad.

We have already seen the boss switch between a Premier League side and a rotated XI across the midweek fixtures in the League Cup and Europa League, with the likes of Gravenberch and Harvey Elliott among the many beneficiaries.

Cup opportunities are scarce for fringe players when Liverpool are in the Champions League, but this season’s European campaign has allowed the team to build rhythm in those competitions.

Klopp may choose to strengthen his side as the rounds wear on, but the group stage has been ideal for the likes of Ben Doak, Jarell Quansah and Joe Gomez to step up and be counted on a continental stage.

If the Reds are to compete on all fronts again this season they will need to keep key players fresh and the wins over LASK and Union SG have provided us with a sign of things to come.

 

Defensive frailties

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk (L) and Darwin Núñez look dejected as Brighton & Hove Albion score an equalising goal to level the score 2-2 during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have continued their habit of conceding first in 2023/24 and have made life more difficult for themselves in the process.

Only Sheffield United and Luton have been on the receiving end of the opening blow more times than the Reds in the Premier League so far, with those two sides already firmly in a relegation scrap.

We have been forced to come from behind against Bournemouth, Newcastle and Wolves, which on one hand demonstrates strong mentality but on the other poses concerns moving forward.

It is a trend that has followed on from last season and will need to be rectified promptly in order to avoid the inconsistency that plagued us throughout 2022/23.

The overall points tally remains impressive and the away trips have been tough, but Liverpool need to find a way to get out of the blocks more quickly if they are to mount serious challenges.

 

Goals galore

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 2, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While shipping goals at one end is proving to be a concern, scoring at the other end certainly doesn’t appear to be a problem.

A recent Cody Gakpo injury aside, Liverpool have been blessed with five elite forwards with a clean bill of health so far this season and the results have been frightening.

The Reds have outscored Man City and Arsenal in the opening eight league games, with Mohamed Salah becoming as prolific at supplying chances for his teammates as he has always been at taking them.

The Egyptian already has six goals and four assists to his name in all competitions, while Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Gakpo have also each contributed to the side’s total of 26 across the board.

Having an array of attacking talent with the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai behind them to chip in and provide has made Liverpool a force to be reckoned with in front of goal.

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