Liverpool’s 9-0 win against Bournemouth was record-breaking. The win tied the Premier League record for the largest victory. On Monday, Bournemouth’s manager Scott Parker was relieved of his duties as the club’s manager.
Over the next few weeks, Liverpool will hope the win leads to better results. After four games, Liverpool is 12th in the Premier League after two draws, a loss to rival Manchester United, and Saturday’s win.
Liverpool’s Start to the Season
Liverpool nearly won the Premier League last season. At one point on the final day of the season, Liverpool was within one goal of winning the title before Manchester City took the lead against Aston Villa.
As a result, Liverpool is expected to compete to win the Premier League title this year. Over the summer, Jurgen Klopp prioritized adding youth to the team, signing players such as Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho, and Calvin Ramsay; who are 23, 20, and 19, respectively.
However, one of Liverpool’s biggest problems in recent years has been injuries, which has continued at the start of this season. Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Thiago, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, and Diogo Jota are all currently dealing with injuries.
Several of those players are expected to return soon, but Liverpool is currently playing without several of its most important players, especially in midfield.
Liverpool’s midfield against Bournemouth, Elliot, Fabinho, and Jordan Henderson, dominated the game. However, during the first three games of the season, and especially during the loss against Manchester United, the midfield struggled to control matches.
Against Manchester United, Fabinho was not a part of the starting lineup. His absence was noticed. Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliott were unable to provide their typical level of creativity and structure moving forward alongside James Milner, who started as the third midfielder in Klopp’s 4-3-3.
The midfield issues, combined with bad positioning and communication in the back line, resulted in spaces for Manchester United’s attackers to exploit. By the time Fabinho entered the game for Henderson in the 59th minute Manchester United already led 2-0.
This season, despite their injuries, Liverpool has still dominated possession. Holding it for 67% of the time in their opening match against Fulham, 73% of the time against Crystal Palace, 70% of the time against Manchester United, and 69% of the time against Bournemouth.
Against Crystal Palace, Liverpool not only held possession but finished the game with 2.07 expected goals and 24 shots, while Crystal Palace had just 7 shots and 1.04 expected goals, according to FotMob. Unfortunately for Liverpool, Darwin Nunez received a red card in the 57th minute with the team already trailing 1-0 in the game, and the mistake ultimately cost the team an important two points.
In three of the last four Premier League seasons, the title winner has recorded more than 90 points. Last year, Manchester City won the title with 93 points. There are only 114 points available in a Premier League season, and Liverpool has already lost seven points. If Liverpool wants to match Manchester City’s point total last season, they can only fail to earn 14 more points this year. This means they have already dropped 33% of the 21 points they afford to lose in only 10.5% of the minutes they will play this season.
Will Liverpool’s Bad Start Cost Them the Premier League Title
To make matters worse for Liverpool, three of their primary rivals in the title race have had phenomenal starts to the season. Arsenal has started the season with four wins in four games, and Manchester City and Tottenham both already have 10 points in four games.
The result means that Liverpool is already seven points behind for the title, and five points behind two teams who finished in the top four last season. Their injuries, and Nunuez’s mistake against Crystal Palace, have put them in a difficult position in the title competition already.
On the other hand, there are 34 games left in this Premier League season for Liverpool, and when the team is at full strength it’s hard to argue it isn’t one of the best in the world. Their next three Premier League matches are against Newcastle, Everton, and Wolves, three teams who finished 11th, 10th, and 16th respectively last season. Although Newcastle is the only team Manchester City was unable to beat so far this year; the game between the two teams finished with a score of 3-3.
Nunez and Jota will both be important players for Liverpool this season after Sadio Mane departed the club to sign with Bayern Munich this summer. Nunez, in particular, was one of the most notable signings of this summer’s transfer window.
As a result, the start of Nunez’s career, and particularly his red card against Crystal Palace, has contrasted with the start of the season Gabriel Jesus and Erling Haaland, two of the other center-forwards to join new Premier League teams, have enjoyed.
Jesus has scored two goals and earned three assists in his first four games for Arsenal. He has arguably been the best player in the Premier League so far this year, and he is likely to be a finalist for the Premier League Player of the Month Award for August. His main competition may be Haaland.
Haaland’s start of the season has established him as one of the best players in the world. He scored two goals in his first career Premier League game against West Ham and followed that with another goal against Newcastle and a hat trick against Crystal Palace that completed an incredible second-half comeback. After his hat trick last weekend, Haaland leads the Premier League in goals.
There is good news for Nunez, though. According to FotMob, Nunez has played only 96 Premier League minutes so far this season. During his playing time, he has produced 1.25 expected goals. As a result, Nunez leads the Premier League in expected goals per 90 minutes, according to FotMob.
The competition for this year’s Premier League title is starting to take shape. Liverpool is behind after the first few games of the season, and once the team is healthy, they should compete to win the Premier League title. Though the club will have to manage their injuries and earn enough points within the next few weeks to remain in title contention. As the season goes on, Nunez, Haaland, and Jesus could be the summer transfer signings that determine who wins the Premier League title.
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