One of the giants of European football, Liverpool have yet to recapture their glory days of the 1980s when they dominated the English game and won four European cups. Manager Jurgen Klopp heads into his second full season in charge at Anfield under pressure to deliver trophies to the Liverpool faithful.
It was the proverbial season of two halves in 2016-17. Liverpool were in the thick of things throughout the autumn, suffering just two league defeats before the end of December, but a run of one win in seven at the start of 2017 saw them fall away and out of the Premiership title race. January also saw them tumble out of the EFL and FA Cups, and although they finished strongly to hold on to fourth place, it was ultimately a disappointing return for a season that had started so well.
Bookmakers appear to be undecided on exactly where Liverpool will finish in the Premier League this season, but they are all in agreement that they won’t make the top four. SkyBet, William Hill and Sporting Bet all have them priced at 10/1 as the fifth favourites to win the title, while Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes make them joint-fifth favourites with Arsenal at 11/1, and Bet Stars, Unibet and 888 Sport are even more pessimistic about their chances, rating them as 12/1 sixth favourites.
The Reds are back in the Champions League this season, which has helped to take some of the pressure off Klopp, but according to the bookies, their chances of becoming European champions for the sixth time look slim. There are currently eleven teams higher than Liverpool in the Champions League winners market, including all of the other four English teams in the competition, and if you fancy Klopp’s side to earn European glory you can back them at 35/1 with 888 Sport.
What do the punters think?
Judged on the amount of betting activity on Liverpool since the end of the last season, it seems that punters are broadly in agreement with the bookmakers. Less then 10 per cent of bets taken in the Premier League winners market in that time have been for Liverpool. But punters do appear to disagree with the bookies when it comes to their top four chances. More than 11 per cent of bets in the Top Four market have been for Liverpool, making them the second favourite choice for punters in that market.
The arrival of Mo Salah from Roma was a headline grabbing piece of transfer business and the former Chelsea forward is likely to bring considerable firepower to the team, although he is a big price at 66/1 with Sky Bet to finish as the Premier League top scorer. Liverpool’s best hope in that market is Saido Mane, who made a big impression during his first season at Anfield, and the Senegal striker is rated a 33/1 shot by William Hill to top the English scoring charts.
Salah and Mane may be the headline goal-scorers, but Liverpool’s star last season was Brazilian Phillipe Coutinho, who proved to be the team’s main creative force. He can be backed at 20/1 with Paddy Power to be named as the Premier League Player of the Season, while Betfair rate young striker Divok Origi, who found the net seven times in the Premier League last season, as a 33/1 shot to be the Young Player of the Year.
There is no doubt that the disappointments of 2016-17 have led to an urgent need to strengthen the squad and there are sure to be more new signings on the way. Given Liverpool’s high profile around the globe, it is inevitable that they have been linked with a number of players, but four names appear at the top of most lists.
Burnley left-back Andrew Robertson looks their likeliest signing, with William Hill rating that transfer as a 1/4 prospect, while Bet Victor have priced the prospect of Guinea midfielder Naby Keita making the switch from RB Leipzig at 4/6. Also heavily linked with the Reds are Germany forward Timo Werner, who is 3/1 with Bet Victor, and Arsenal star Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, who is regarded as a 6/4 shot by Skybet to be playing for Klopp next season.