With the 2021-22 season now fast approaching, Liverpool have one clear ambition: to wrestle the Premier League title back out of Manchester City’s grasp. Jürgen Klopp’s side gave a limp defence of their title last season, but they did manage to finish third in the end, which gives them a strong platform on which to build for the new campaign.
With Betdaq listing multiple clubs as possible winners of the Premier League this season, Liverpool will have their work cut out, and they’ll need some of their underperforming players to really step up and be counted. There were too many passengers last season, players who simply didn’t cut the mustard when they were called upon, whether it be first-team regulars or fringe players. Let’s take a look at four men who Klopp will be seeking more from in the 2021-22 campaign.
Last season was a difficult one for Sadio Mané. Try as he might, he simply couldn’t find the spark that made his previous campaigns for Liverpool so profitable. He only managed 11 Premier League goals in the end, which is disappointing by his high standards, and he’ll be eager to put things right in the upcoming season. The return to more normal scheduling following the pandemic affected 2020-21 campaign should help him feel fresher in each game, and that could lead to a resurgence from Liverpool’s Senegalese star.
There continues to be question marks over Roberto Firmino’s standard of performance for Liverpool. While goals are not necessarily the best metric of his contribution to the team, there has been a notable drop-off in performance levels, and at times the Brazilian has given the ball away too easily, and has failed to find the magic touch which defines his best form. Firmino still has the ability to produce moments of class for Liverpool, but Klopp needs to find a way to extract those magical moments more regularly.
Naby Keïta hasn’t always had an easy time of things since joining Liverpool from RB Leipzig at the start of the 2018-19 season. Injuries have plagued his time at Anfield, preventing him from putting together any significant runs of form in the team. There’s no doubt that the Guinean midfielder is extremely talented, but on the occasions where he is fit and included in the starting eleven, too often he has failed to assert his influence. Klopp needs to bring out the best in Keïta sooner rather than later, but if he can have an injury-free season, there’s every chance he could produce some stellar form this campaign.
Another who has faced similar challenges to Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has shown impressive flashes of form at times for Liverpool in the past, but in the last couple of seasons he has failed to showcase his true ability. Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored some hugely important goals for Liverpool in the past, and it’s clear that Klopp still rates him highly. At 27 years of age, there is still time for him to become a vital player for Liverpool, and if he can steer clear of injuries this season, we could see him play a more regular role in midfield.