A Season in Review: Liverpool

In this series of 20 articles, we take a look back at the Premier League season, focusing on each team individually. We take a look at transfer window activity, managerial changes, and key points throughout the season.

Transfer Windows

Liverpool did well to keep hold of their key players in the transfer windows this season, losing just one major player. Sadio Mane moved to German giants Bayern Munich in what was a surprise transfer for many.

Another surprise move was Divock Origi’s to AC Milan. Liverpool’s Champions League hero preferred a move to Italy for regular game time. That was it in terms of high-profile moves, with the remaining sales all being squad rotation players.

Ben Davies moved to Ranges, with Neco Williams going to Nottingham Forest. Minamino moved to Monaco and Marko Grujic transferred to Porto. This left Liverpool being able to build on what they already had.

Consistent injuries and problems in midfield meant that Liverpool moved Bajcetic into the first team from their U18s squad and also brought in Arthur from Juventus to help shore up the struggling midfield. Fabio Carvalho also joined from Fulham to add further depth to their midfield.

Klopp believed that his typically strong defence did not need adding to, as defensively, he only secured the signing of young fullback Calvin Ramsey from Aberdeen. With Mane leaving, and Firminho not being as effective in recent seasons, Klopp decides to shake up his options in the attacking areas.

First came Darwin Nunez. The transfer brought a lot of questions with it, such as whether will he be able to adapt to life in the Premier League, and whether will he live up to his expensive price tag.

Liverpool fought off competition from Man United for Coady Gakpo, brought in to replace Sadio Mane, in what rounded off a very strong transfer window from Liverpool.

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Key Games

Liverpool had a very strange season, they picked up some incredible results, and then at other times were embarrassed by teams in the relegation zone. It is hard to pick one game where their season turned around, as every time they picked up a crucial win, they lost the next game.

It would be easy to pick their 7-0 win against an inform Man United as their key game of the season, but this had no effect on their season. They still lost games against struggling teams after this and still got battered by teams in the top 6.

Their 4-1 loss away against Man City sticks out for me. Coming into the game off the back of a 1-0 loss against Bournemouth, Liverpool were looking to bounce back against a team they relatively do well against.

Their good form against Man City showed as they took a surprise early lead, with Salah finding the net after 17 minutes. However, that was as good as it got for them, with that goal being their only shot on target in the entire game.

City went on to dominate, as Alvarez equalised 10 minutes later. De Bruyne got the second half off to a perfect start, scoring within the first minute to give Man City the lead before further goals from Gundogan and Grealish rounded off the score line.

So why did this result turn Liverpool’s season around, when they lost heavily against such a big rival? Well, it made them go back to basics for the next game. They travelled to Chelsea and were defensively solid in a 0-0 draw.

They then locked horns with Arsenal, putting on a brilliant show, drawing 2-2 after being 2-0 down. From then, they won their next 7 games, firing them back up the table, which, in the end, effectively secured them a Europa League spot. Without that heavy loss, I believe they would have just coasted to the end of the season.

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Cup Competitions

Carabao Cup

Being a big club, you would expect Liverpool to make it far in this competition, even if they field a heavily rotated squad. In the third round, they were given a home tie against League One side Derby County.

Despite dominating the game, and having a generous amount of shots, Liverpool could not find a way past Derby. The Rams took the home side all the way to penalties, as Bajcetic and Firminho missed for the home side, but it did not matter as Hourihane and Forsyth also missed, before Lewis Dobbin missed the deciding penalty to send the home side through to the fourth round.

After surviving a giant killing scare, Liverpool was then drawn away against Man City in the fourth round, where the two sides played out a classic. Man City led twice through Haaland and Mahrez, but Liverpool hit back both times through Carvalho and Salah.

Liverpool’s Carabao Cup journey came to a premature end, however, as Nathan Ake’s goal in the 58th minute decided the game, sending Liverpool crashing out of the competition in the fourth round.

FA Cup

Their FA Cup run was almost a carbon copy of their Carabao Cup run. Entering the third round at home against Wolves this time. Guedes gave the struggling visitors a shock lead at Anfield, but Liverpool hit back through Nunez and Salah to give them the lead.

Wolves were not done yet, as Hwang Hee-Chan found the back of the net to level the scores, and Wolves had more than enough chances to send Liverpool packing. The scores stayed the same, however, as Liverpool were forced into a replay.

In the replay, it was much less dramatic, with one goal settling the game. Harvey Elliot scored 13 minutes into the fixture, sending Liverpool through to the fourth round.

The fourth round of the FA Cup is where Liverpool’s journey came to an end, much like their Carabao Cup one. They faced Brighton away from home, a side who had done well against them in both fixtures that season.

Harvey Elliot took the lead for Liverpool after half an hour, but Lewis Dunk equalised 9 minutes later, sending the sides in level at half-time. We had to wait until the 92nd minute for the game to be settled, with Brighton star Mitoma sending the home fans wild, and sending Liverpool out of the competition.

Community Shield

A season without any silverware for a top 6 club is deemed a failure, and Liverpool was hoping to get their season off to a good start when they faced Man City in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Alexander-Arnold took the lead for Liverpool inside the opening half an hour, before City new man Alvarez equalised with 20 minutes to go. With the tie in the balance, City were pushing hard for another goal, but it never came.

Liverpool left it late but were presented with an opportunity to take the lead 7 minutes from time when they were awarded a penalty. Salah dispatched it, and Darwin Nunez made sure of the result, and the trophy, as he made it 3-1 in stoppage time.

Champions League

Liverpool fans may have been concerned when their Champions League group came out, as it was rather tough. They were drawn with Napoli, Ajax and Rangers, in what looked to be a very tight and hard-to-call group.

The group stage did not start well for Liverpool, as they faced their toughest game first. They travelled to face Napoli and were 1-0 down 5 minutes in, Zielinski netting from the spot.

Napoli had the ball on the spot again 14 minutes later, but Osimhen could not convert it. Anguissa and Simone extended Napoli’s lead before halftime, and Zielinski scored his second, and Napoli’s fourth just after halftime.

Liverpool hit back 2 minutes later through Diaz, but it was not meant to be as Klopp’s men were humiliated by the Italian side.

Ajax were the first side to travel to Anfield in Europe this season. Liverpool took the lead through Salah, with Kudus equaliser for the visitors 10 minutes later. Liverpool, and Matip, left it late, as the defender scored the winner in the 89th minute to get Liverpool off the mark in the group stage.

Liverpool then had back-to-back games against Rangers. At home, Alexander-Arnold scored within the first 10 minutes, and Salah netted a second-half penalty as Liverpool recorded a comfortable 2-0 win.

The away game was a different story. Despite Rangers taking the lead after 17 minutes through Scott Arfield, Liverpool ran riot. Firminho equalised sending the sides level at halftime, but it was the second half where Liverpool impressed.

Firminho gave Liverpool the lead 10 minutes after the restart, and 11 minutes later, Nunez extended that lead to 3-1. It took Salah 5 minutes to net a hat trick, his first coming in the 76 minutes, then the 80th and 81st. Harvey Elliot rounded off the rout with a goal in the 87th minute, as Liverpool ran out 7-1 winners.

Liverpool then travelled to Ajax and performed admirably. A goal 3 minutes before halftime from Salah gave Liverpool the lead before Nunez doubled that lead shortly after halftime. Harvey Elliot made sure of the result, making it 3-0 minutes later.

In their final group-stage game, Liverpool faced Napoli at home. It was a complete contrast from the reverse fixture, as Salah scored 5 minutes from time to give the hosts the lead, and Nunez made sure of the result in the 98th minute, making it 2-0. Liverpool went through in 2nd place, setting themselves up for a tie in the round of 16 against Real Madrid.

Liverpool started brilliantly at home. They were 2-0 up in the first 15 minutes through goals from Nunez and Salah, but that was as good as it got for Liverpool. Vinicius netted a brace before halftime to send Madrid in level.

Militao gave Real Madrid the lead shortly after halftime, and Benzema effectively ended the contest, netting a brace in the second half, and giving Madrid a 5-2 aggregate lead after the first leg.

The second leg was more of a tight affair, but Real Madrid could afford this. They won 1-0 thanks to a late, second half, Benzema goal, sending Madrid through to the quarter-finals, after winning 6-2 on aggregate.

Season Overall

Overall, it has been a hard season to judge for Liverpool. They lost some good players but replaced those with good players. They may not have hit the heights that Mane did, but they still did a job.

Their Premier League campaign was a disaster but still finished 5th and gained a Europa League spot, which, looking back at some of their results throughout the season, is a big achievement.

They were struggling for so long, losing to the likes of Leeds, Bournemouth, and Nottingham Forest, and even their final day 4-4 draw against Southampton summed their season up perfectly. They were 2-0 up, ended up being 4-2 down and then ended the game at 4-4.

Their cup competitions were an absolute disaster though. Their Carabao Cup run can be excused every so slightly, as they did lose against the best team in the world right now, but their FA Cup run was shambolic.

Even when they came up against lower-league opposition, they struggled. Usually, Liverpool turns these sides over and field strong teams, but that did not happen this year.

Going forward, Liverpool needs to freshen it up a little. They need to invest in that squad. The midfield is ageing, the defence is ageing, and they do not have players coming through the ranks to replace the likes of Van Dijk or Henderson.

I think next season will be massive for Liverpool. I believe the business they have done so far is good, and it shows they are looking at the right kind of players to get them back into the top 4. I personally believe they will be challenging for the title again next year.

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