Premier League, Liverpool FC preview: Philippe Coutinho transfer saga shrouds Anfield

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SURAJ ALVA
Published Aug 12, 2017, 5:10 pm IST
Updated Aug 12, 2017, 6:11 pm IST
Liverpool fans will be hoping for good season under manager Jurgen Klopp, who has influenced the high octane style of football.
Klopp's team will be facing Watford in their opening match of this year’s campaign.
 Klopp's team will be facing Watford in their opening match of this year’s campaign.

Mumbai: The new season of Premier League is about to begin and once again the Liverpool fans will be hoping for good season under manager Jurgen Klopp, who has influenced the high octane style of football from the time he took charge at Anfield.

Klopp's team will be facing Watford in their opening match of this year’s campaign. Liverpool were in scintillating form last season till Christmas, but by the end of their campaign they just about managed to make it into the top four and qualify for Champions League.

What looks good:

The UEFA Champions League is back at Anfield! The Reds will be making a comeback in the Europe’s elite showpiece event after two year’s absence. Jurgen Klopp, as a coach, already has the taste of Champions league with his former club Borussia Dortmnd, whom he led to the 2012-13 final, before losing to Bayern Munich 2-1. With Liverpool Klopp at the helm of affairs, the Reds will try to replicate the German’s past successes.

What  does not:

This season things could turn out to be different for the Reds as they will be competing both in England and in Europe. With Champions League coming back to Anfield this season, players will have to be on the peak of their fitness, something that is even more essential, given Klopp’s propensity to play the high-octane ‘gegenpressing’ style of football.

A far more pressing concern for the Kop is the future of playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who has reportedly handed in his transfer request.
Fenway Sports Group had issued statement on Friday, saying: “The club’s definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer window closes.”
However, the Brazilian himself  has handed in the transfer request, with Barcelona reportedly keen on replacing the departed Neymar with Coutinho.

Key Signings

Even before the start of the season Klopp has managed to make some addition to increase his squad depth – Andrew Robertson was signed from Hull City for £8 million, Mohamed Salah was signed from AS Roma for £39m and Dominic Solanke joined from Chelsea for £1.8m.

The Reds have also been reportedly trying to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzig, but with the bid rejected, the interest seems to have waned. Virgil van Dijk is yet another target for the Reds; while the player himself has handed in his transfer request, it will be interesting to see if Southampton will let go of their star player.

Tactical View:

With most of the players on the injury table Klopp is likely to go with the 4-3-3 formation. In defence an injury to Nathaniel Clyne could pave the way for Trent Alexander-Arnold who will be making just his third Premier League start.
Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren will be the two centre backs, while the manager will have choices to make between Alberto Moreno, Andrew Robertson and James Milner for the left back position.

With Adam Lallana out injured, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can could be given look in the midfield.

The front three could provide for quite some excitement, as new signing Salah is likely to make his debut alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Final Verdict

With club having  achieved a top-four finish last season, anything less than that will only be considered as failure. If they do make it to the main draw of Champions League, the team will be expected to at least reach the knockout stage.





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