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No more Pipe Dreams: Liverpool to Finish in Top 4?

2016-09-19 17:48

Only five weeks of Premier League have passed, and yet a few trends are already clear. Man City has a strong hold on the lead, Everton is playing beyond expectations, Chelsea is no longer miserable – and Liverpool seems to be able to hold up their own, too. Could this successful start mean a joyous end of the season 16/17?

Now their run this season so far is pretty interesting. The first Premier League game was against Arsenal where they managed a pretty impressive 4:3 victory – and it wasn’t for the lack of the Gunners trying. In fact, the latter started really fighting back after their second goal by Oxlade-Chamberlain at 64th minute, when Liverpool already had all four of theirs.

However, after this thrilling battle came the Burnley downer, where the Reds promptly lost 0:2. Mind you, that’s the first game that the newly-promoted team has won in Premier League this season, others being three clean sheet defeats and a single goal draw against Hull City. Defensive mistakes early on by Liverpool meant that their 81% possession and 26 shots couldn’t help them out of this hole and granted the new guys a surprise victory.

Then came the Tottenham draw, which was a solid step up. And then Liverpool shone again vs Leicester City, managing a superb 4:1 victory which was very promising – and Roberto Firmino, who scored twice, was a delight. The following week was vs Chelsea, which proved to be a challenge that Klopp’s lads knew how to handle, winning 2:1. While Liverpool definitely deserved that win, the Blues weren’t exactly at their best during this match.

According to the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet, Liverpool is not only very likely to finish in Top 4, but they are also currently one of the favourites to win the entire gig. After last year’s 8th finishing position that may sound like a pipe dream – but then again, it was one strange season, and Liverpool really did improve tenfold under Klopp, even if the team does need to fix a few leaks here and there.

Obviously, one of those leaks – and it’s probably their biggest leak – is their defence, which can at times be simply atrocious. They’ve played six matches this season, and only a single one in Football League Cup ended with clean sheets. Liverpool can’t seem to keep up a solid defence thoroughly, which has already amounted to the loss vs Burnley – and it can amount to much bigger hurdles.

However, their attack can be as wonderful as their defence – lacking. In these six games, the total count of their goals is an amazing 16, and being able to score so well and so consistently is really something. If the fact that they allow too many goals through doesn’t ruin it, of course – even now, they could be as high up as the 4th place if it wasn’t for the smaller goal difference than Arsenal and Chelsea managed.

Still, this is a team that powered through a season riddled with change and injuries, and still came out ready to fight and improve. While many would love to see a manager like Klopp succeed so early on with his squad, it’s a bit of a long shot to expect a title from Liverpool this season. On the other hand, the Top 4 seems entirely doable – and they’re going to make their journey entertaining to watch to say the least.