No team is currently on a longer unbeaten loss than Liverpool. Indeed, Jurgen Klopp’s team have now gone 17 matches without suffering defeat in the Premier League with five straight wins lifting the Reds up to second spot in the table, just two points behind perennial pace-setters Manchester City.
Not so long ago, Klopp faced questions over his future as Liverpool manager. The Anfield outfit struggled through the 2022/23 campaign and ultimately finished outside the top four as the team on the pitch reached the end of a cycle. Liverpool entered the summer transfer window in clear need of a rebuild.
Much of this rebuild focused on the midfield. Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left and were replaced by the incoming Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo. Nobody knew how quickly the new unit would gel together, though.
With every passing match, Liverpool have looked stronger. More coherent. They started with a 1-1 away draw against Chelsea, but have since collected wins over Bournemouth, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Wolves and West Ham. This is a different sort of Liverpool team to the one seen in past seasons under Klopp, but they are once again the biggest threat to City.
It’s not just that the likes of Szoboszlai and Mac Allister are already contributing as key players, it’s that Liverpool have their intensity back again. Last season, Liverpool’s confusing drop in energy was widely highlighted as a reason for their slump. Over the summer, though, Klopp has recharged his team.
Even those who were at the club last season look re-energised. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been harnessed in a new role which allows him to play centrally where his natural creativity and passing range can be better utilised. Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota are fit again and have given Klopp greater depth in the attacking third.
No player has taken a bigger leap forward than Darwin Nunez, though. Signed for a club-record fee of £85m last year, the Uruguayan needed a season to acclimatise to his new surroundings. Now, however, Nunez has very much grown into his role as Liverpool’s next great number nine, scoring three goals in six league games (only two of them starts).
“He has made massive steps in the last few weeks,” said Klopp after Nunez’s goal-scoring performance against West Ham, highlighting the striker’s stunning volley to give Liverpool the lead in the second half. “He is a threat. You all saw the goal, that was probably pretty good, right? That was really strong.”
With Nunez in the centre of the attacking line, Liverpool have better balance in the final third. Diaz and Mohamed Salah both look most comfortable when they have Nunez to play into and around. This is reflected in the goals scored by the Reds this season – only Manchester City and Brighton have scored more than them in the Premier League.
Klopp’s new-look Liverpool has placed a greater emphasis on possession play on his previous teams which largely operated in quick transition, but the spirit of his retooled side is evocative of the one that delivered so much success for the club in the Premier League and Champions League.
City might end up strolling to another Premier League title, but Liverpool have the weapons to put up some resistance. Arsenal are still building momentum after last season’s second-place finish while Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham Hotspur remain a work-in-progress. Chelsea and Manchester United have already been left behind in the title race. Liverpool are at least in the contest.