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ANALYSIS: Why Liverpool will seriously challenge for the title this year, with or without Coutinho.

After Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal, much of the post-match analysis primarily focused on the inept, incompetent and quite frankly indefencible performance of the Gunners and yet more should be spoken of the brilliance of Liverpool.

Liverpool’s recent performances epitomise Jürgen Klopp’s character: full of passion and copious amounts of energy – a complete contrast to Arsenal’s lacklustre display under Wenger.

At the beginning of Jürgen Klopp’s second full season in charge of the Reds, everything appears to be falling into place perfectly for the German manager, even without the genius of Coutinho.

The front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané have the pace, creativity and individual virtuosity to unlock the toughest of defences.  Their club record acquisition Mohamed Salah has settled in instantly, scoring twice and assisting once in the opening three games of the season.

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Sadio Mané’s frightening pace and finishing makes him unplayable at times – much to the detriment of Arsenal on Sunday, as he cut onto his stronger foot and curled the ball into the far corner in a way that would make Arjen Robben proud. Roberto Firmino appears to be thriving in his central, false number nine role and is constantly involved in all the bright moments Liverpool produce.

Liverpool also have 3 proven, goal-scoring strikers in their ranks in Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and the U20 World Cup Golden Ball winning Dominic Solanke. Squad depth is critical for mounting and sustaining a serious title challenge whilst also juggling other competitions such as the Champions League. With the signing of Naby Keita all but confirmed for next season, Liverpool’s depth will only get stronger.

The club’s Achilles heel in recent years has been, and still is their defence, particularly against lesser opposition. Even their goalkeeping quality doesn’t match their attacking prowess. Liverpool must learn from their title heartbreak of 2013/14 and cannot assume to simply outscore their opponents in every game.

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They must also not approach games against weaker opposition with the assumption of three points, as it is never guaranteed in the Premier League. If they are to sell Coutinho for an astronomical fee, Liverpool should spend big on Virgil Van Dijk – ideally without the improper ‘tapping up’ approach this time.

In the last 24 hours, the Reds continue to be linked with more attacking players such as Thomas Lemar and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, presumably as replacements for Coutinho. But if Liverpool could firstly shore up their defence and combine it with their dazzling attack whilst continuing their excellent recent record against other big clubs, then Liverpool fans could be in for a very enjoyable season…

Written by Lukas Jennings.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Arsenal 0 0 0 0 0
2 Aston Villa 0 0 0 0 0
3 Brentford 0 0 0 0 0
4 Brighton & Hov… 0 0 0 0 0
5 Burnley 0 0 0 0 0
6 Chelsea 0 0 0 0 0
7 Crystal Palace 0 0 0 0 0
8 Everton 0 0 0 0 0
9 Leeds United 0 0 0 0 0
10 Leicester City 0 0 0 0 0
11 Liverpool 0 0 0 0 0
12 Manchester City 0 0 0 0 0
13 Manchester United 0 0 0 0 0
14 Newcastle United 0 0 0 0 0
15 Norwich City 0 0 0 0 0
16 Southampton 0 0 0 0 0
17 Tottenham Hotspur 0 0 0 0 0
18 Watford 0 0 0 0 0
19 West Ham United 0 0 0 0 0
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 0 0 0 0

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