Three reasons why Liverpool will finish in the top four this season
Iqbal Johal examines three reasons why Liverpool are on course to secure Champions League qualification this season
The Klopp factor
The 48-year-old Jurgen Klopp has already made his mark since taking over as manager in October. He has currently won seven of his first 11 matches as boss, with his team looking a different proposition than under Brendan Rodgers. Memorable away victories at Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton have made the Reds a particular threat away from home, where Klopp’s counter-attacking philosophy is working wonders. With January approaching, several key Dortmund players have been constantly linked with a move to Anfield which would only bolster the side. Any one of Mats Hummels, Marco Reus or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would make a great addition and it is always a benefit to have a manager with Klopp’s contacts at the helm. Currently sixth and only four points off the top four, appointing a world-class manager at just the right time could well lead Liverpool back to the Champions League.
A fit Sturridge
The England striker has been plagued with injuries since almost helping Liverpool secure the title in 2013-14. After scoring 21 times during that campaign, forging a dangerous partnership with Luis Suarez, it has been a frustrating time ever since. Last season he could only manage 12 league appearances, scoring four goals. This time round, he has only featured in the four league games, last starting in October. But the brace in his recent comeback during the demolition of Southampton has shown exactly how much Liverpool have missed the 26-year-old, and how key a fit Daniel Sturridge will be to their top four hopes. With Christian Benteke and Divock Origi the club’s only other recognised strikers, Liverpool’s season hinges on Sturridge and as proven against Southampton, he won’t need much time to get back to his best once again.
The next 10-12 Premier League fixtures present Liverpool with a fantastic opportunity to cement their place in the top four, ahead of a final push. With only two of their next 12 fixtures against top four contenders – Arsenal and Manchester United – the Reds must make the most of the kind run of games. The fact that Liverpool play seven teams in the bottom half and considering the blistering form they are in, you would back them to make the most of this opportunity. As January gives Klopp the perfect chance to strengthen his team for the final few months of the season, Liverpool could well already be in a great position and these three factors are why they have to be favourites to snatch the final Champions League.