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5 key reasons this season will be totally different to last for Liverpool

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Rotten luck surely can’t strick twice in succession and Liverpool haven’t lost the traits and qualities that made them champions, making next season one to be optimistic over.

Even the best of horror writers could not have scripted what would unfold for Liverpool last season.

But it was a credit to Jurgen Klopp‘s team that they rallied together for a strong finish to ensure 2021/22 arrived with a clean slate having retained Champions League status.

And while transfer business has been slow going so far, there remains plenty to be excited about as Liverpool look to ensure the Henderson trophy shuffle returns come season’s end.

So here’s five reasons why this season will be different to last.

 

Injuries in the rearview mirror

Injured players, Van Dijk, Henderson, Gomez (Image: Darren Staples / Sportimage)

Twenty centre-back combinations last season says everything you need to know about the almighty hurdle the Reds had to overcome, which they did with two young and relatively inexperienced defenders.

But with Virgil van Dijk to get his first minutes on Thursday, Joe Gomez nearing a return and Joel Matip fit and firing, the long and painful centre-back woes can finally be put behind us.

There can be no denying the boost the trio will provide Klopp and co. as they allow the high-line and high-pressure system to truly thrive, which will, in turn, benefit the front three.

When you then consider Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Diogo Jota have also returned to fitness, then you have a squad more than capable of building rhythm and momentum to return to their devastating best.

Further injuries will come throughout, but (*touch wood*) Liverpool surely cannot pick up as many long-term and season-ending issues as they did last season.

 

Power of the fans

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 30, 2019: Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We saw some teams thrive without the presence of fans, but Liverpool were not one of them.

With a game-plan that has intensity at its heart, extrinsic motivation is a powerful source of inspiration and with the 12th-man to now return, it’ll be another reason we will see the Liverpool of old return, but of course with new tricks up their sleeve.

There’s a reason Anfield is deemed a fortress, one capable of turning the tide in the Reds’ favour irrespective of if the odds are well and truly against them…Barcelona anyone?

It was a long ol’ season without the Liverpool faithful that was highlighted by an unprecedented six home defeats in a row, for the first time since 1953/54.

But there’s no way that happens this time around, Reds simply won’t allow it.

 

Settling-in period complete

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 23, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the final FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was not the season Jota, Kostas Tsimikas nor Thiago would have dreamt up when they sealed their move, with a combination of injury, COVID-19 and empty stadiums greeting their arrival.

But the tumultuous campaign did allow them to settle into their new surroundings and learn Klopp’s way, providing the foundations to which they can springboard off of this season.

Liverpool will be better off for their experiences when 2021/22 rolls around, with the hope that they can hit the ground running to assist in a strong start in the Premier League.

Thiago notably had hit his stride as last season came to a close, one player who wouldn’t have wanted time to be called on his debut year and it offered an exciting look at what is still to come.

He was brought in as an experienced game-changer and should finally be given the opportunity to line up alongside Henderson and Fabinho on a regular basis. They started just one game together in midfield last season.

 

Ruthless and prolific

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds were a shadow of their clinical selves last season, with Mohamed Salah‘s goals vital to keeping the team ticking along throughout their struggles.

Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were visibly out of form for a significant chunk, with their confidence taking a hit in front of goal – Mane, in particular, had a conversion ratio of just 12.5 percent in relation to shots to goals.

It all amounted to just 68 league goals across the board, down on the 85 in the title-winning campaign and 89, 84 and 78 in the preceding four seasons.

The abovementioned factors will boost the figure, as will work that is undoubtedly going on throughout pre-season to add new routes and patterns to goal – a good team cannot be kept down.

And who knows, a new forward signing could yet boost this part of Liverpool‘s game further.

 

Champions League intent

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's players celebrate with the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 to win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At times it felt as though the Reds were just trying to survive in the European competition, limping from one game to another.

A quarter-final berth was secured but a Real Madrid side there for the taking were simply allowed to toy with us before wayward finishing at Anfield cost the Reds dearly.

It juxtaposed the preceding campaigns, 2019/20 aside, where Klopp’s sides had thrived in Europe and had never even lost a two-legged tie under the German’s tutelage.

There was never any real belief that a run to the final was on the cards but that will all change this time around as there will undoubtedly be an assault on No. 7 that coincides with the search for title No. 20. Let’s be having it.


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