Liverpool FC: 2021/2022 Season Preview

We are just five days away from the start of the Premier League season so I thought it was about time we did a season preview here on The Liver Bird.

We will cover:

Last Season | Transfers | Injuries | Line Up | First Fixtures | Predictions

Last Season

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Last season, Liverpool somehow managed to finish 3rd in the league after spending part of it on self-destruct. Entering the campaign as defending champions, it was always going to be tough for the Reds to match their previous year’s success, particularly whilst battling a centre-back injury crisis.

Klopp’s side lost just once in their opening 16 matches in the Premier League last season but the turn of the new year would spell disaster. A loss away to Southampton in January was soon followed by four losses on the bounce, all of which meant by April the Reds were clinging on by their fingernails to hopes of a Champions League spot.

Thankfully, we have a group of lads who never give up and a goalkeeper who scores bullet headers

Away from the league, Liverpool made it to the 4th round of both the FA Cup and the League Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Stats-wise, Mo Salah finished as top scorer for the Reds with 31 goals in all comps and 22 in the league.

Interestingly, aside from Alisson, Trent, Mo and Robbo, it was Gini Wijnaldum who played the most minutes in the league last season for Liverpool notching up 2,947. A stat that will no doubt worry some Liverpool fans who feel not enough has been done to replace the Dutchman so far in the transfer window.

Transfers

Usually, in a season preview, you’d dedicate half of it to discuss the comings and goings during the transfer window. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there hasn’t been much action on the transfer front from L4 but I’ll try to cover the small bits of business below.

The main transfer news for the Reds was the signing of Ibrahima Konate, the Frenchman looks an exciting prospect for Liverpool as Klopp aims to increase his defensive options. Signed for £36 million, you can read more about him here.

Departing Liverpool perhaps most significantly was Gini Wijnaldum who joined PSG. The Reds also sold Harry Wilson to Fulham for £12.6 million.

Marko Grujic joins Porto on loan, while Ozan Kabak returns to Schalke.

Injuries

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Last season was shocking injury-wise for Liverpool, most notably thanks to the missing Virgil van Dijk but 20+ players missed at least one game for the Reds, easily one of the worst injury records in the league.

Since then, things have improved slightly as we see the return of Virgil and Joe Gomez. The main worry for Liverpool now is to see how bad the ankle injury Andy Robertson picked up in a friendly against Athletic Bilb.

Many Kopites will also be hoping Naby Keita can stay injury-free too after impressing in pre-season.

Line Up

So, what would a season preview be without a poorly predicted line up? In an ideal world where all the lads are fully fit and ready to go I think the starting XI almost picks itself but with the question over the match fitness of players like van Dijk and Gomez in particular, I’m not actually sure who Klopp goes with in the opening clash at Norwich.

The potential injury to Robbo throws a spanner in the works but I’m still hoping it’s not too serious, if it is however, is it time more trust was placed in Tsimikas?

The improvements to our centre-back situation will mean Fabinho is likely to start in his more favoured midfield position but who may join him on Saturday is a different story.

There’s also a question for me around players like Jota and Keita who will be knocking on the door for starts. The former obviously played a key role for the Reds last season and I don’t expect that to change this time out but feel Klopp may select the Portuguese player from the off.

Who would you start against Norwich? Let me know on Twitter.

First Fixtures

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So, as mentioned, Liverpool’s first opposition this season is Norwich. The Canaries topped the Championship last season and bounced back to the Premier League. The familiar Teemu Pukki was their top goalscorer with 26 goals in all comps and many fans would highlight the importance of Grant Hanley who was vital in defence.

To find a win for Norwich against Liverpool, we have to go all the way back to 1994 when Jeremy Goss scored the only goal of the game just after the half-hour mark for the Canaries.

After the trip to Norwich, Liverpool face Burnley at Anfield and Chelsea at Anfield. In September, the Reds face Leeds (A), Crystal Palace (H) and Brentford (A).

It’s not a bad lineup for Liverpool who will be hoping they can get maximum points as they start their 2021/2022 campaign.

Predictions

So, I couldn’t end the season preview without a season prediction, could I?

In the predictor league I do through work I’ve put us to win the title and while I have every faith that it’s a possibility, after last season and the current lack of transfer movement, realistically, I’m not sure it will be the case. The frustrating thing is that I feel it’s extremely important for the Reds to be pushing and keeping tabs with 1st because if we can’t find another title over the next few seasons, we’re in danger of another serious baron spell.

While I’m not entirely certain 1st is destined for Klopp this time out, I do confidently believe we’ll be causing problems in the top four. Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all bought well but if Salah is scoring numbers like he always has, Mane returns to form, Virgil gets to 80% of his old self and Jota creates the danger again, I genuinely feel we’re going to be a bloody tough side to beat.

In the other comps, I’d love for Liverpool to go on a bit of a run in the League or FA Cup but it just doesn’t seem to be a priority, and I can understand why. The Champions League, however, should ALWAYS be a priority, I bloody love the competition and you can never rule us out in Europe but I do wonder if the pressure may be too much this season. Especially as Klopp tries to keep tabs on a side with several players returning from injury.


Blogging Return

I’m looking forward to getting back into blogging this season, so keep your eyes peeled for some fun and more opinionated posts from me. Regulars will have been used to a match preview and match report for every single game in my glory days but as I’m getting older I think the phrase “quality over quantity” definitely jumps out.

Super excited for kick-off Saturday, enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! #YNWA #UpTheReds