13th September, 2018.
The fact that Liverpool started the Premier League in a perfect manner has naturally raised the hopes of their fans and brought about a state of considerable anticipation at Anfield that the club is about to witness a breakthrough season.
That is also backed up by the fact that the team’s run to the Champions League final last season demonstrated a devastating, confident attacking team ready to go toe-to-toe with the best and win.
That was followed by some impressive acquisitions in the transfer market, with Brazil internationals Alisson and Fabinho arriving alongside Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri, which naturally has added quality and depth to Klopp’s squad in key positions.
However, the anticipations of the fans are about to be put to a real litmus test in the next one month period as Liverpool F.C. face some of their most trying matches for the season so far.
Let’s take a look at the crucial matches that the team will be facing in that one month period.
September 15 – Tottenham (A)
Tottenham Spurs had a quiet session during the transfer window period, but served notice of their own title ambitions with an emphatic 3-0 win at Manchester United at the end of last month.
Just like Klopp’s Liverpool, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham are a team carrying out their coach’s defined instructions to the letter and normally to positive conclusions.
Even though the fact that they ran into an unexpected 2-1 defeat at Watford last time out knocked them a bit off their stride, Liverpool must be wary of a backlash.
Next on the queue of these intriguing games is that against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League Competition.
September 18 – Paris Saint-Germain (H)
The French Champions have in Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe, the most formidable attack in Europe on paper.
Added to that is the fact that the team is presently being managed by Thomas Tuchel, who impressed as a successor to Klopp at both Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.
With both Klopp and Tuchel knowing each other so well in terms of tactics and style, an intriguing tactical battle between the dugouts is in prospect and Liverpool will get to know how their new found defensive solidity holds up under heavy fire-power.
Next on the cards is the match against Chelsea.
September 29 – Chelsea (A)
After the game against PSG, is a trip to Southampton and an EFL Cup rehearsal at Anfield in preparation for the Stamford Bridge clash.
Just like Liverpool, Chelsea boast a perfect record of four wins from their opening Premier League fixtures.
Even though the Blues are still undergoing a sort of “reconstruction” under Maurizio Sarri, the Italian’s high-pressing and high-tempo style is somewhat similar to the Reds’ approach.
The Reds however would be able to bank on a team that is more familiar with the system than Sarri’s Chelsea in terms of development being able to impose themselves decisively on the match, with disrupting midfield kingpin Jorginho probably the key player.
October 3 – Napoli (A)
Napoli are similar to Chelsea in the sense that they are in the early stages of a transition away from “Sarriball” to the Carlo Ancelotti “stylo” of football.
Early results have been somewhat mixed so far – conceding first in three Serie A games to date is far from ideal. However, Napoli won two of those against Lazio and AC Milan, demonstrating both the attacking firepower and resilience that helped them to go head to head with Juventus in the title race last season.
The team’s attacking talisman Dries Mertens is yet to return to a potent starting line-up following his World Cup strenuous session with Belgium.
Liverpool will undoubtedly have their hands full in the cauldron-like atmosphere of the Stadio San Paolo.
October 7 – Manchester City (H)
Last season, Liverpool was the only side to decisively get the better of runaway Premier League champions, Manchester City, by winning three of the four encounters in all competitions.
The always highly motivated Pep Guardiola will return to Merseyside with a renewed determination to disprove the notion that his old Bundesliga sparring partner Klopp has his number.
After these decisive round of matches, it will be easier to know in which direction the season is heading for the Jurgen Klopp led Liverpool F.C.