Commentary: Liverpool will struggle to retain its title

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Liverpool were relentless last season but were also relatively fortunate in terms of injuries to key players, says John Duerden.

With a star-studded team that has been built and managed by charismatic coach Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool were a well-oiled and high-octane machine last season but the new campaign that starts on Sep 12 is likely to be different and raises a big question if Liverpool can dominate the league to the same extent in the coming season.

The star attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane missed a combined total of seven games between them. With Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren also departing in the summer, Liverpool only have Joel Matip and Joe Gomez as proven partners to Van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.FILE PHOTO: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk pressures Brighton's Neal Maupay during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton on Jul 8, 2020.

Klopp has been playing down the prospect of major spending in this transfer window for months but despite the success, fans always crave new signings especially as some squad players, like Lovren and Adam Lallana, have left with more, including key midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, possibly following them out of the door before the transfer window closes.

Chelsea, fourth last season, have been the biggest spenders so far this window. The Blues have spent more than 200 million pounds on six major signings including Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, Hakim Ziyech from Ajax Amsterdam and Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen. Chelsea struggled with this so-called third season syndrome too. Winning the title in 2005 with 95 points, the Blues took 91 the second year. In the third, that had slipped to 83. To keep the mentality of winning almost every game can take its toll.

 

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