Ahead of the new Premier League season, we’ve priced up Liverpool at 5/6 to finish above rivals Manchester United.
Going into the 22/23 campaign, the idea that Liverpool would finish below Manchester United was unthinkable. Liverpool were fresh off a season in which the title was agonisingly snatched away from them, while Manchester United, with another new manager, were merely hopeful of a top-four finish.
But a dismal season in which Liverpool again battled injuries saw the Reds fall to a hugely underwhelming fifth-place finish and something of a rebuild is underway.
There are concerns for Liverpool heading into the new campaign; Mohamed Salah is now 31; Virgil van Dijk will be 32 and is no longer as domineering as he has been at the back.
Jordan Henderson and Thiago are the wrong side of 30, while Fabinho’s form dipped last season, and injury issues persist for a number of squad members.
And more squad members are needed despite being hamstrung financially. Liverpool simply can’t pay the prices many of their rivals can, which saw Jude Bellingham move to Real Madrid, while the likes of Declan Rice and Mason Mount were also out of the Reds’ price range.
There’s also the Europa League, and while it can be a useful platform to give less experienced players more minutes, it often creates a headache in the latter part of the season should a team go deep in the competition.
But considering the injuries Liverpool suffered last season, keeping more of their players fit for longer would make summer additions less of a priority.
And while at the moment there’s a lot for Liverpool to do in the summer, there’s plenty of room for optimism. The signing of Alexis Mac Allister looks a shrewd piece of business while not breaking the bank, while Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones played more prominent roles in midfield and can expect more game time this season.
They still have arguably the best goalkeeper in the league in Alisson, and there’s lots of strength in depth going forward, with Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez and Salah, while Trent Alexander-Arnold appears to have finally made the long-awaited move into midfield, a role he carried out superbly towards the end of the season.
Two of Klopp’s five full seasons in charge at Anfield have seen Liverpool finish above rivals United, and while bringing Champions League football back to Merseyside is the main goal, finishing above the Red Devils will go a long way to ensuring that.