Recently it’s been quite easy to notice two trends involving the theme of the Premier League which could be very important in the upcoming season.
Firstly, the supposed decline of possession based (tiki-taka) football which dominated the sport with Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona epitomising it’s success. In it’s place has come a resurgence of counter-attacking football with organised defence in depth when a team loses the ball. This was well represented by Leicester City last season in their amazing title win, in which they averaged 42.3% possession.
There have been other examples, such as Atletico Madrid in Spain (49%) as well as Italy (45%), Iceland (36%) and Portugal (52%) in the Euros. This suggests that more teams in the Premier League will move towards this choice of play which suits the teams that are used to playing in this style already, and endangers those that dare to continue to play possession based football.
The other trend that it’s been easy to notice is the quiet confidence coming from the Liverpool camp with the supporters seemingly buying in to this.
Pre-season is usually filled with supporters being confident about their team’s chances, which is usually erased a few weeks or months into the season, but there seems to be something different this time round.
The combination of these two factors could have a major influence on the upcoming Premier League season. Liverpool have managed to go under the radar due to the amount of managerial changes at the big teams in the summer so far, but Klopp has had enough time to mould the team to his liking which could spell bad news for the other teams.
Klopp’s unique take on counter attacking football is an exciting form of it, and this could push Liverpool to success due to teams in the Premier League being unsure to handle it especially the teams that focus on keeping possession.
In Klopp’s own words, he compared Arsene Wenger possession style of football to “an orchestra” whereas his style is like “heavy metal”.
An example of this is Liverpool’s first half demolition of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last season, which was as exciting as it was surprising. Now that he has been able to sign players suited to his philosophy, this kind of performance may become common in the upcoming season.
The amount of managerial changes suits Liverpool because it will take a while for the managers to form the team they want, even if they are world class managers such as Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola.
This means that if Liverpool are consistent throughout the season then they could easily get in the Champions League places and maybe even win the league.
Chelsea and Everton are the only other major teams aside from Liverpool which don’t have European football next season, and this is going to be pivotal around Christmas when the fixtures become congested although it probably wouldn’t be wise to discount the smaller teams in the league after Leicester’s heroics last season.
Klopp has made some promising signings so far in this transfer window with a nice balance between spending big, and finding cheap bargains.
His signing of Sadio Mane for £34million was a statement of intent as well as a smart investment due to his prior experience in the Premier League with Southampton.
The signings of Marko Grujic, Loris Karius and Joel Matip for under £10 million are smart and improve the spine of the team as well as introducing energy to the squad.
There are also youth players, which Klopp has a good record of bringing into the first team – some of which we saw last season.
The amount of time he has spent with Liverpool as well as pre-season matches means that he should have a good understanding of the youngsters which will hopefully translate to some of them getting into the first team.
Last season saw Liverpool get to two finals, both of which they lost. However, this was a promising start for Klopp seen as the team wasn’t his own yet, and was still the team he inherited from Brendan Rogers.
This suggests that Klopp should have more success which probably means silverware of some kind because he’s had more time to get his players to understand his philosophy, and bring in the players he wants.
Pre-season is never a good indicator for the season ahead so this is more of a sidenote than anything else, but Marko Grujic has performed well so far, and Danny Ings had a match winning display against Tranmere, which is positive news going in to the season.
To sum up, Klopp and Liverpool are in a great position to take the Premier League by storm next season, so don’t be surprised if they’re challenging strongly for the title in the upcoming season as well as possibly winning one of the domestic cups.
Hopefully we’ll see more of the exciting Gegenpressing that Klopp is trying to instil next season.
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