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LIVERPOOL

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LAST SEASON AND THE STARTING POINT BEFORE 2016/17:

After joining Liverpool last October manager Jürgen Klopp did what he could with the relatively weak playing staff Brendan Rodgers had left him behind with. At their best Liverpool played some magnificent football, but the team lacked consistency and eventually finished in eighth place in the Premier League.

The bitter defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League final brought Liverpool's hopes of European football in 16/17 crashing down, but not having any European commitments does leave them more time to rest and concentrate on the domestic competitions.

KEY PLAYERS:

Nobody has a chance of ousting Nathaniel Clyne from the right side of Liverpool's defence. In his first season in English football Joel Matip has a fantastic opportunity to claim a place in the starting eleven and become the Reds' leading centre-back. 

In midfield Emre Can and attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho were impressive last season, and we're expecting more of the same from the pair. 

Versatile forward and number 10 Roberto Firmino has excelled under Klopp's leadership as a false nine. Injury-prone Daniel Sturridge was Liverpool's top scorer last season with 13 goals, and he is more than capable of bettering that tally if he can keep fit.

EXPECTATIONS:

The charming German manager will now face his first real test in the Premier League. Both the fans and media are expecting the 'Pool players to have embraced Klopp's philosophy by now and the Kop is expecting that to show in their results. However, there are a still a lot of questions that need to be answered before the Reds can return to the level they were previously.

Klopp has been active in the transfer market, moving to strengthen his at times shaky back four. Well familiar with the Bundesliga, Klopp has brought in Joel Matip from Schalke and Loris Karius to compete with Simon Mignolet for the number one spot between the posts. 'Pool's midfield has been strengthened by the arrival of Georginio Wijnaldum and Sadio Mané, who scored 11 goals for Southampton last season.

Klopp's tactics involve a lot of pressing high up the pitch, which takes a lot of energy from the squad week after week. The realistic minimum target for 'Pool is to compete for the Europa League places, but climbing any higher than that in the table will require immense seasons from especially Coutinho, Firmino and Sturridge. On their day these star players can keep the Reds afloat on their own and settle matches with flashes of brilliance.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 

Georginio Wijnaldum who arrived from Newcastle will claim a spot in Liverpool's staring eleven. Given his strong performances for the disaster club that was Newcastle last season, a team with the quality of Liverpool could raise him to be one of the stars of 2016/17.

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