Much is expected of Liverpool next season with Jurgen Klopp at the helm.
Indeed, the German gaffer may have already been in charge for the best part of nine months but he’s worked with a squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers and still managed to drag a largely underwhelming Reds side to a Europa League and Capital One Cup final.
With a healthy transfer budget and pre-season to get the squad up to speed with his gegenpressing philosophy, the common feeling is that Klopp could transform the Reds back into top four regulars at the very least.
Easier said than done, of course – especially in the ever-competitive, ever-unpredictable world of the Premier League. But the fixture list for the 2016/17 campaign, released online just moments ago, should give us some insight into Klopp’s chances of doing so next season.
Here’s a list of FIVE fixtures we at Football FanCast think will decide Klopp’s first full season at the Anfield helm.
Liverpool boast a really strong record against Spurs, winning five of the last seven, but need to sustain that next season if they’re to make it into the top four. The Lilywhites are well and truly on the rise so taking at least a point off them away from home is vital.
It’s still arguably the biggest fixture on the Premier League calendar, with the northwest rivalry as bitterly fought as ever. The Reds lost twice against United in the league last season and must turn that domination around – especially in their own manor.
Liverpool have won five of the last seven against their Merseyside rivals, including a 4-0 thumping at the end of last season. But the appointment of Ronald Koeman could revitalise the struggling Toffees, so a win away at Goodison would really curtail that momentum – and push the Reds up the league table.
Always an exciting fixture involving two clubs who believe in attacking football. But a more cautious approach this year could be more beneficial – beating the Gunners would seriously boost the Reds’ top four chances.
Liverpool failed to beat West Brom twice last season and struggled against attritional, defensive sides throughout the campaign. It’s an Achilles heel Jurgen Klopp needs to address this summer and this fixture will be a barometer of whether he’s done so successfully.