The ultimate Liverpool season preview: Nunez signing & Salah staying means optimism abounds at Anfield

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Can Jurgen Klopp's men go again after last season's quadruple heartache?

After the thrills, spills, glory and ultimately heartache of last season, Liverpool are ready to do it all again this time around.

Triumphant in both the Carabao and FA Cups, yet ultimately coming up just short in the Premier League and Champions League, Jurgen Klopp’s side will surely expect to be there or thereabouts again come May.

There may have been changes at Anfield, with the likes of Sadio Mane, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi leaving from last year’s squad, but the arrival of a new £64 million ($76m) striker in Darwin Nunez, plus the summer renewal of Mohamed Salah’s contract, provides plenty of cause for optimism among Reds fans.

Pre-season has been mixed, with defeats to Manchester United, Salzburg and Strasbourg offset by wins over Leipzig and Crystal Palace, and a rousing Community Shield triumph against Manchester City.

Whatever happens, this season promises to be every bit as exciting as the last one.

  1. Squad Goals
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    Squad Goals

    It is hard to say definitively that Liverpool are stronger this year, squad-wise, but that is what Jurgen Klopp believes. Mane’s departure will hurt, but the arrivals of Nunez from Benfica and Fabio Carvalho from Fulham are exciting and should, in theory, add a new dimension.

    Teenager Calvin Ramsay has replaced Neco Williams as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s understudy, but otherwise it is the same squad, and Klopp will be looking for Luis Diaz to continue his outstanding form in the second half of last season, and for the likes of Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Naby Keita to step up and alleviate fears that the Reds are one high-class, reliable midfield player light heading into the new campaign.

  2. The Hopes
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    The Hopes

    It will, one suspects, be hard to top or even match the drama of last season, but that is what Liverpool must try.

    They proved last year that they have the squad to compete on multiple fronts. They were an Aston Villa collapse away from winning the title, and only a Thibaut Courtois masterclass denied them a seventh European Cup.

    The aim, Klopp says, is to improve their performance levels, to be even more consistent and even more ruthless. A big ask, you might say, but one they’ll approach with confidence and determination.

    Achieve it, and they can win the lot.

  3. The Fears
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    The Fears

    Four words can perhaps sum up the things that keep Liverpool fans – and Klopp – awake at night: injuries and Manchester City.

    Keep key players fit and healthy – Salah, Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Alisson Becker – and Liverpool won’t be far away. Lose any of those for a sustained period, and the squad strength will be tested.

    And City? Well, everyone knows that the side that finishes above them will win the league, and the likelihood is that you’ll need to beat them to win the Champions League or either of the domestic cups. 

    Liverpool laid down a marker in the Community Shield, but bigger battles await those two.

  4. The Hero
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    The Hero

    A few weeks into his Liverpool career, and Darwin Nunez looks to have Reds fans eating out the palm of his hand.

    There is something special, something exciting about the arrival of a new centre-forward, and especially one as talented and with as much potential as the Uruguayan.

    Liverpool have already seen what he can do when playing against them, and if he can hit the ground running on Merseyside – the Community Shield suggests he can – then exciting times lie ahead.

    Especially with Salah and the brilliant Luis Diaz creating havoc on either side of him, and with Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino offering support and competition alongside.

  5. The Villain
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    The Villain

    UEFA, sadly. More than two months on, and memories of the Champions League final are still raw for many supporters. The treatment of fans, both Liverpool and Real Madrid, and the way they were subsequently blamed for the disorder outside the Stade de France, will take some forgetting.

    An independent review is underway, with initial findings due in September ahead of the publishing of a full report in November.

    But don't be surprised to hear the Champions League anthem booed at Anfield this season, and if it is then the governing body only has itself to blame.

  6. NXGN Player to Watch
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    NXGN Player to Watch

    It has to be Harvey Elliott. What a talent, what an attitude, what an exciting prospect for Klopp and Liverpool.

    Were it not for the serious ankle injury suffered at Leeds last September, we might be talking about the 19-year-old as an England international and a World Cup option.

    That’s how good he was as part of the Reds’ midfield three at the start of the campaign, and judging by his pre-season showings, he’s ready to go again this time around.

    If he delivers, he’s a game-changer.

  7. Last-chance Saloon
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    Last-chance Saloon

    Well, Naby Keita, as it stands, is into the final year of his contract, and remains something of an enigma, one whose full potential is still to be unlocked.

    The Guinea midfielder had a good season last year, playing 40 games in all competitions, but he needs an even better one this time, first to earn himself a new deal and then to justify it.

    Could also mention Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is also down to his last 12 months, and Curtis Jones, whose talent is clear but who needs to influence games more clearly and more consistently if he’s to become a regular starter.

  8. How Are The Fans Feeling?
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    How Are The Fans Feeling?

    After the win over Manchester City in the Community Shield, and in particular Nunez’s role in it, optimism abounds among Reds fans.

    They have learned to trust this team and this manager, and while there are legitimate concerns about some things – midfield, in particular – there is no reason for Liverpool to fear anybody, at home or abroad.

    With Klopp signed up until 2026, Salah until 2025 and the bulk of the senior squad also tied into long-term deals, the pieces are in place for Liverpool to carry on challenging all comers.

    And as they do, expect the Kop to be in full voice throughout. How could they not be, after the last few years?