Heading into the 2022/23 season, Liverpool were among the favourites for the Premier League title.
In the previous year, they won both domestic cups, reached the Champions League final, and finished just one point behind Manchester City in second place.
Sure, the departure of Sadio Mane left big shoes to fill in their frontline. However, 34-goal Benfica star Darwin Nunez was expected to be the perfect man to step up to the plate.
Things have been far from ideal for the Reds to date. Their league form has been well below-par, having not picked up any wins since the last-gasp home victory against Newcastle United.
Sunday’s defeat at the Emirates Stadium left them in tenth place, with just ten points from their opening eight matches. After the match, manager Jurgen Klopp claimed his side are no longer ‘in the title race‘ – but is this the case?
Well….yes, probably. To match last season’s tally of 92 points, they can afford to drop just eight more points. Good luck with that, Jurgen.
But they still have plenty of time to salvage something from their campaign. They were in a far worse state during the 2020/21 season and still managed to finish in third.
Obviously, Mane’s move to Bayern Munich has been felt. But aside from the Senegalese forward, they’ve got an almost identical team to the one they had before the summer transfer window.
One of the main issues they’ve faced is that several key players haven’t performed. Virgil van Dijk – a man often cited as the world’s best centre-back – has been way off his usual standards. Trent Alexander-Arnold has often been singled out for scrutiny. Mohamed Salah has only two league goals so far.
On Wednesday evening, Klopp’s men travelled to Ibrox to face Rangers in the Champions League and confidently demolished them 7-1. Salah grabbed a hat-trick. Could this be the game to spark them into life?
This isn’t the first thrashing Liverpool have handed out this season – of course, they stuck nine past Bournemouth not long ago. And when they followed that up with a late win against Newcastle, they looked back on track. But that proved a false dawn, as they proceeded to draw 0-0 against Everton and suffer a 4-1 humbling to Napoli.
Now, they’ve got a much tougher test. Manchester City come to Anfield looking to extend their unbeaten start to the season. Erling Braut Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden have been some of the division’s standout players. It’s a frightening prospect for any side.
If they lose, it will put a swift halt to any possible momentum gathered from the Rangers result. If they win, however, it will give them a massive boost in the coming weeks. Simply put, it could be make or break.
The match afterwards comes against West Ham United at Anfield. The Hammers had a poor start to the season but have since bounced back with two wins in a row.
You’d fancy a confident Liverpool to take three points from this fixture. In contrast, an out-of-form Reds side could easily slip up.
Anyway, Liverpool vs Man City is usually a classic. Seven of the last eight meetings have had at least four goals. It should be an interesting watch.
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