In the wake of their 5-1 win against Hull City at the weekend, Liverpool fans hind themselves daring to dream about what could lie in store for them this season.
It had become a bit of a habit for Liverpool to struggle against teams who adopt a ‘park-the-bus’ strategy, especially at Anfield. Only once in the last nine seasons have the Reds beaten all three promoted teams in front of their own fans. The earlier loss to Burnley acts as another distinct example of Liverpool’s inconsistencies in recent years.
However, the manner of the victory against Hull provided a marker to illustrate the ruthlessness of Jurgen Klopp’s team. The tally of 24 goals after eight competitive games this season is Liverpool’s highest in 121 years since 1895/96, with the 16 goals scored in the league this season 12 more than at the same stage last year.
No Star Man
In previous seasons, Liverpool have been heavily dependent on their star players – Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard to name a few. This year is much more about the team ethic than the individuals within the squad. There is no main man and everyone is buying into a single mission.
Players like Adam Lallana are beginning to step up and add more goals to their game while the introduction of Sadio Mane has made the Reds a completely different prospect on the counter attack.
Suffocation by Gegenpressing
Mike Phelan’s side looked shell shocked right from the first whistle when Liverpool came charging out the blocks, pressing and harrying them into mistakes. The hunger and desire to win the ball back gave Hull little chance to mount any form of come back.
What was most impressive however, was the intelligence with which the players carried out Klopp’s style of play. The team was completely cohesive in everything they did – as soon as one player went to press the others followed. The benefits of a strong pre-season and a new look backroom staff is there for all to see.
Gone are the days of having no fit strikers on the bench. With Daniel Sturridge only featuring in the final twenty minutes with the score at 4-1, and Divock Origi and Danny Ings not even involved, the Reds wealth of attacking options is miles ahead of previous seasons.
Too Early for Title Talk?
Talk of a title challenge may seem slightly hasty after six Premier League games but given their results in what was a tough start for Liverpool, you can’t blame the fans for their optimism.
With wins against Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester alongside a draw against Tottenham, Liverpool have already shown they are capable of delivering when it matters most. Not to mention that two of those wins were away from home.
If Liverpool can replicate their performance against Hull in future games against the smaller teams, there is little reason that they can’t challenge at the business end of the table.
Consistency has been a long standing problem at Anfield but the rampant nature of Saturday’s performance and subsequent post-match comments reflect the hunger within the squad. With momentum growing and Jurgen Klopp at the helm, who knows what this season will have in store.