It is often said that the defence of a title is more difficult than winning it in the first place. That is now the next challenge for Liverpool’s talented German manager Jurgen Klopp.
Having dominated the 2019/2020 Premier League season, Klopp’s Liverpool showed no mercy as they marched to victory. Sometimes the football was breath-taking, and on other occasions, it was gritty and determined – the exact formula needed to add yet more silverware to the Anfield trophy cabinet.
However, while many EPL expert predictions for this weekend are asking if Liverpool will break the 100-point barrier, we want to look further down the road and preview what next season may hold for the title holders.
The Weight of History
The last Liverpool manager to win back-to-back league titles was the legendary Bob Paisley in 1981/82 and 1982/83. The Reds also went on to win the league the following season (1983/84), but that was under the stewardship of Joe Fagan.
In the Premier League era (1992/1993 onwards), only three managers have achieved the feat of retaining the title. They are Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Many world-class coaches, such as Carlo Ancelotti, Arsene Wenger, Antonio Conte, and Roberto Mancini, tried and failed to follow-up their inaugural Premier League success.
This sums up the size of the task that Jurgen Klopp is facing. While Liverpool fans celebrated wildly this season, they don’t want this to be a one-off victory. For much of the past 25 years, they have suffered as Manchester United ruled English football. The Reds’ supporters want this to be the start of a new dynasty for Liverpool Football Club.
Who Stays and Who Goes?
It is too simplistic to say that if Klopp keeps his squad together that his boys will romp to another title next season. First, there is the mindset of the player. If any members of his team feel like they have achieved greatness already, will they be as hungry to want more?
In my opinion, this is an area where Jurgen Klopp excels as a coach. His man-management skills are off the charts. Take the previous year, for example. Liverpool pushed Manchester City all the way. They picked up a staggering 97 points and finished a single point behind Pep’s side. Furthermore, they went on to win the Champions League beating Tottenham Hotspur in the final. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Klopp motivated his team to push even harder, and the fruits of their labour have paid dividends.
But back to the question who stays and who goes? While Liverpool’s front three of Salah, Mane, and Firmino grab many headlines, this current squad has several other gems like Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, and Alisson Becker.
It goes without saying that European giants, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, and even PSG with their deep pockets, would love to get their hands on any of these players. Could Liverpool face another Coutinho scenario where a big-money offer comes in, and the player’s head gets turned?
Second favourites at the bookies
Most of the leading online betting sites have already opened their books for the 2020/21 Premier League season. Rather surprisingly, Liverpool have been marked-up as second-favourites, with Manchester City leading the betting. Admittedly, there isn’t much in it. City are evens (2.00) and Liverpool are 6/4 (2.50). But nevertheless, this is somewhat insulting to a team that virtually had the title in the bag at Christmas.
If Klopp and his lads need any extra motivation to go out and prove themselves again. This favouritism of Pep and Man City should do the trick. What do you think will happen next year? We’d love to hear others’ opinions on this topic.