EPL top four review: Where do Liverpool need to strengthen?


Where do Manchester City need to strengthen?

With the international break well under way, now is the perfect time to touch base and assess how the top teams across the Premier League have performed in the opening twelve games and just where they may need to strengthen ahead of the January transfer window.

Manchester City sit in top spot having failed to put a foot wrong so far this season, showing their usual fluency in attack in tandem with a strong defensive unit. Their emphatic win in the Manchester Derby highlighted the strength of Pep Guardiola’s side, who managed over 40 passes between themselves before Ilkay Gundogan delicately prodded in from close range to earn the bragging rights. Following closely behind are Liverpool and Chelsea, both of whom have also made unbeaten starts to their respective seasons.

Despite failing to show the attacking prowess and fast transition that made them so exhilarating to watch in 2017/18, Jurgen Klopp’s side have adopted a more pragmatic approach, and displayed the traits of title contenders. Gone are the days of a shaky back-four that looked capable of shooting themselves in the foot even from thoroughly advantageous scorelines. In their place, a regimented defence marshalled by the authority and dominance of Virgil van Dijk, who has brought the best out of his teammates, shipping a measly five goals in the league compared to the seventeen conceded at this stage last season.

Chelsea deserve enormous credit for the way in which they’ve adapted to life under Maurizio Sarri and are the only English side to be unbeaten in all competitions at this stage. The Blues have regained their mojo under new management, with Eden Hazard taking up his usual position as the talisman figure to put them into contention for the title.

Under the radar slightly have been Spurs, who have bagged nine wins so far to put themselves three points ahead of rivals Arsenal. Although not considered to be a genuine threat for the title, Pochettino has once again made a good start despite limited resources.

So, where do the top-four teams need to strengthen on the evidence provided by the opening twelve games of the campaign? Let’s look at Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Much of Liverpool’s strengthening will have to come from their midfield, which has often lacked drive and creativity this season – two traits associated with Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Englishman’s injury has undoubtedly hit Jurgen Klopp’s team hard thus far, with his teammates struggling to replicate his ingenuity from deep in order to support the front three. Naby Keita’s arrival was supposed to fill that void but so far he’s failed to replicate the kind of form we became so accustomed to seeing in the Bundesliga.

While it’s probably just a matter of time before he does get up to speed in his new surroundings, Liverpool would be wise to target further recruits and properly replace Philippe Coutinho, who was integral in putting chances on a plate for Salah, Mane and Firmino while possessing the quality to contribute with goals himself.

Nabil Fekir would be the prime target, having been heavily linked with a summer move but there are several options Klopp could explore in order to regain the creative dynamic in his midfield.


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