Liverpool have made a blistering start to the new season and they look well placed to battle for glory on all fronts throughout 2019/20. The Reds were quiet in the summer transfer window, but Jurgen Klopp was happy with options at his disposal and his confidence has thus far been entirely vindicated. Liverpool have ripped their opponents apart in the early weeks of the new season and they have a great chance of conquering Europe again.
The expert odds compilers at sportsbetting.ag and other sites make Liverpool the third favourites for Champions League glory this season. It is difficult to see why they are not favourites. They went to the final in 2018 and lost 3-1 to defending champions Real Madrid, but they were undone by a pair of complete goalkeeping howlers from Loris Karius. The Reds then signed Brazil number one Alisson for a world record fee and their fortunes were transformed.
There were no such errors in the 2019 showpiece, as Liverpool closed out a supremely composed 2-0 victory over Tottenham to become champions of Europe. Yet the highlight came in the semi-finals. They trailed 3-0 on aggregate against the mighty Barcelona, and nobody expected Klopp’s men to overturn the deficit. But they left Messi and co utterly shell-shocked by romping to a 4-0 victory at Anfield. The atmosphere inside the stadium was positively thrilling, and that crowd could roar the Reds onto victory against any team in Europe this season.
The two teams above Liverpool in the betting are Man City and Barca. Pep Guardiola’s men were also the favourites in 2017/18, but Liverpool beat them home and away to dump them out of the competition. They were the favourites again last season, but they lost to Tottenham in a pulsating quarter-final clash. Guardiola has repeatedly said that the Premier League is his priority, and his team has consistently struggled in Europe.
Barca were obliterated at Anfield last season and Liverpool were by far and away the better team over two legs. Ernesto Valverde’s side could not live with the pace and intensity of the Reds’ Gegenpressing style. They have since signed Frenkie de Jong to improve an aging midfield, while Antoine Griezmann offers another intriguing option in attack. Barca also have arguably the world’s best player in Lionel Messi, but they have been knocked out at the Champions League quarter-final stage for the last four seasons in a row, so it is hard to justify their status as second favourites.
Liverpool really are the team to beat in this year’s competition. They are rock solid at the back, with Virgil Van Dijk on course to be named World Player of the Year and intense competition bringing the best out of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are outrageously talented full-backs, and Alisson is a very safe pair of hands.
Liverpool are strong if unspectacular in midfield, but the attacking triumvirate is absolutely sensational. The pace, movement and intelligence of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané is a joy to behold. They took Arsenal apart in the Premier League and they should slice through Europe’s finest defences with ease this season.
Perhaps only injuries could prove to be Liverpool’s downfall. Adrian has looked shaky deputising for Alisson, and the Reds could be in real trouble if forced to field him in a crucial Champions League match. It might be sensible to dip into the market in January for a stronger second choice goalkeeper. The Reds would be blunted if one of the attacking trio went down with an injury, although the likes of Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana are capable of thriving.
There are some great teams bidding to win the Champions League this season, especially Juventus, but the Reds will fear nobody. They have reached two consecutive Champions League finals and there is little to suggest they cannot make it three in a row. Klopp has now ended his unwanted record of losing in big finals, and they can approach the current campaign full of confidence and optimism. It will be fascinating to see if they can successfully defend their crown, but you would not want to bet against it.