Analysis

5 things we think will happen to Liverpool in 2017/18

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3. Injuries will continue to be an issue

Klopp added another physio to his backroom team this summer, which is probably needed given the number of injuries suffered last season.

Captain Jordan Henderson hasn’t completed more than 30 league games across his last two seasons

With a small squad, injuries to key players derailed the Reds’ 2016/17 campaign. The worry is that the same could happen this season, with the squad not much bigger and more European football commitments likely.

Already ruled out at the start of the season are Nathaniel Clyne (hamstring) and Adam Lallana (thigh strain), while Daniel Sturridge also picked up an injury that meant he missed the Reds' last two games.

Captain Jordan Henderson hasn’t completed more than 30 league games across his last two seasons, while Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip all had frequent niggling issues last season. The physical demands Klopp places on his players means that youngsters like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn surely won’t be ready to play more than one game per week.

Adam Lallana

Missing Lallana for several months is less than ideal

If Klopp can add at least two more signings before the window closes, that will help cover for the inevitable winter injury crisis.

4. Liverpool to concede over 40 league goals - again

The last time Liverpool conceded 40 goals or fewer in a league campaign was 2011/12, under Kenny Dalglish’s stewardship - a season where the Reds finished eighth and Dalglish lost his job. Since then, Liverpool have twice conceded 50 goals in a season, and last term’s 42 against was the best record in their last seven seasons.

But generally, the league winners concede 40 or fewer. Only twice in the last 20 years has a team shipped more than a goal a game (1999/00 and 2012/13) and won the title. So it’s clear where Liverpool must improve if they're to challenge at the top.

Simon Mignolet

Mignolet was in form at the end of last season, but is it enough?

Securing Van Dijk would help in this respect, as an upgrade on Lovren is required. Last season the centre-back partnership changed far too often because of frequent injuries for Lovren and Matip, and the Reds must prioritise establishing a consistent defensive base for the first time since Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia marshalled the backline.  

Competition for places in goal means Simon Mignolet will be kept on his toes by Loris Karius and Danny Ward, the Belgian having hugely improved at the end of last season. That form must continue if Liverpool are to finish below 40 - but even then it's a big ask. 

5. Jekyll and Hyde October results

Liverpool play newly promoted Newcastle and Huddersfield in October, either side of games against top-four rivals Manchester United and Tottenham.

These kinds of fixture runs have presented the Reds some major problems in recent years; they've often beaten the top teams but struggled to get wins against relegation contenders. Last season, Klopp’s side had the best record against their fellow top-seven sides - indeed, they went unbeaten in these fixtures - but they also fell to defeat against Burnley, Bournemouth, Swansea and Hull.

October, then, will be an interesting month as Klopp faces Liverpool icon Rafa Benitez and best friend David Wagner – managers of newly promoted sides who could cause a few teams problems this season.

Add in potential Champions League games before or after those two games, and Klopp will need to fully use his squad. Which means further strengthing in numbers is essential. 

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