The issues that cost Liverpool last season

Rewind to the start of last season and Liverpool were being put on a pedestal as one of the greatest teams ever.

Liverpool's Mo Salah is currently the leading goal-scorer in the Premier League

For football fans who like betting, it's hard to imagine that the pre-season betting favourites at every casino would fall from grace so hard.

A combination of injuries to key players and loss of form at important moments would seal their fate as they struggled to get in the top four, never mind defending their title.

They finally finished in the third position, due to other teams' misfortune and their ruthlessness in dispatching the last few teams on the fixture list.

Mistakes by both Chelsea and Leicester opened the door and unfortunately for Leicester, who had been in the top four most of the season, they let Champions League qualification slip again right at the end.

A club of Liverpool's stature needs to be fighting for titles and after the previous season's demolition job, most assumed another success would be a formality. However, football is a funny old game and they need to look at areas in the team to ensure that they don't struggle again this time around.

At one stage it seemed like the injury list of Liverpool defenders was never-ending.

Long term injuries to Virgil van Dyk and Joe Gomez robbed Liverpool of a reliable partnership that had served them so well.

Looking from within the Liverpool ranks, Jurgen Klopp tried and tested quite a few different players and partnerships. Joel Matip, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are just some of the experienced players they used hoping to plug the gaps.

But nothing seemed to work well and Liverpool and they were praying for the return of van Dijk and Gomez.

Last January saw the arrival of two new centre backs aimed at shoring up the defence. Ben Davies signed from Preston and Ozan Kabak came on loan from Schalke.

As of yet, Davies hasn't played and Kabak has struggled with the pace of the English game. Rumours swirled that they were keen on signing central defender Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig to boost their defensive options.

Commanding a fee of 35 million, they finally signed their man in the summer and it could be money well spent if the trophies keep coming.

Liverpool's feared forward line of Mane, Firmino and Salah had drawn admiring glances from suitors across Europe.

As they charged to Champions League glory and strolled to their first Premier League title the year after, most fans believed they would be at Liverpool for years to come, banging in the goals in what would be a new era of dominance for the club like they had experienced in the ‘80s. Yet, despite only minimal time missed due to Covid-19 for Salah and Mane, things just didn't seem to click last season.

While Salah continued to score pretty freely, finishing on 22 goals, he was far ahead of the other two.

Scoring 20 goals between them, Mane and Firmino lagged and seemed like they were going through the motions.

It was the first time it was felt that any of these players could be prised away from the club and the transfer rumour mill went into overdrive with seemingly none of them wishing to clarify their future at the club. If you feel any of these players are likely to leave, you may have a bet on their next possible club at any online casino.

Any departure would see Diogo Jota, signed from Wolves, the man to take their place.

Surprisingly, given Liverpool's defensive worries, most of the transfer talk seemed to be revolving around the signing of strikers or exciting creative midfielders.

One rumour that just won’t go away revolves around the possible signing of Kylian Mbappe from PSG next summer.

Available on a free transfer and one of the hottest young prospects in the footballing world, Liverpool would make a massive statement of intent by pulling off this signing.

Playmakers such as Ruben Neves of Wolves or Youri Tielemans of Leicester were mentioned as options to get the free-flowing football going again.

Both have experience in the Premier League, however, of the two, a move for Neves seemed more likely.

He would be cheaper and also the club he plays for is not so successful. It is rumoured that they wish to sell him to fund more of their signings. Tielemans, having just won the F.A. Cup with Leicester and nearly breaking into the top four, may wish to give at least one more year to the club.

Liverpool has been unlucky in the fact that the only year they have won the Premier League, fans were not allowed into the stadiums because of restrictions due to Coronavirus.

While it is said that most clubs have a special bond with their fans, the regard that Liverpool fans hold their club is unique. European match nights in particular are known for their passion.

They also missed out on having a trophy parade around the city after winning the title.

Fortunately for them, on the last day of the season when they needed every encouragement to beat Crystal Palace and climb into third place in the table, 10,000 fans were allowed into Anfield.

This made a big difference and judging by results this season, could be a big factor for their continued success if restrictions remain eased.

The manager of Liverpool is world-class and he certainly won't settle for a repeat of his team's sometimes abject performances this season.

The only silver lining is that they did pull together to make a recovery from being as low as eighth in the table at one point.

Qualification for the Champions League is important, be it for the money generated or even the attraction of playing in this competition to new signings.

Luckily for Liverpool, the forward line and the rest of the squad has pretty much remained intact, with only Georginio Wijnaldum being the only notable exception who chose to leave.

Numerous transfer rumours came to nothing, yet they have started the season strongly.

The return to fitness of Virgil van Dijk has had a massive impact on the team. They were very unfortunate last season and may feel with a touch of good luck, things will swing back in their favour this time around.

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