Can big-spending Liverpool and Klopp mount a title challenge?

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool seems like the club most likely to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title after spending big.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson   -  Getty Images

It has become an annual pre-season discussion: could this finally be Liverpool’s year? Nearly three decades have passed since a team featuring John Barnes, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen won the last of the Reds' 18 domestic titles.

There have been near-misses since – most notably when Brendan Rodgers’ side 'let it slip' with the title tantalisingly close – but optimism has rarely been as high as it has at Anfield in the lead up to the new campaign.

Since Jurgen Klopp's men made May's Champions League final and finished fourth in the Premier League, the Reds has splurged in the region of £160million on Fabinho, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson. Maybe, this really could be its year.

READ: Who were the Premier League transfer window's winners and losers?

Alisson's arrival

The biggest issue Liverpool needed resolving this summer was sorted at a then world-record cost - one that could rise to £65million.

It always seemed likely Klopp would seek a new goalkeeper following the Champions League final gaffes made by Loris Karius, who, tests later revealed, had suffered a concussion in the game.

Manchester City provided evidence of how important a top keeper is when it replaced Claudio Bravo with Ederson. Alisson kept Ederson out of the Brazil side at the World Cup and could be a key acquisition given the other title contenders have elite goalkeepers.

ALSO READ: How EPL teams fared at the summer transfer window

Coping without Coutinho

Liverpool did not miss a beat when Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona in January as Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all stepped up in his absence.

However, if there is a thing Liverpool may still be missing, it is a replacement for Barca's Brazilian. Fabinho and Keita should offer Klopp the drive he craves in midfield but they cannot replicate Coutinho's guile. If teams set up to frustrate Liverpool, who is going to unlock the defence as Coutinho used to?

ALSO READ: How the Premier League's top six stand after transfer window

Pressure points

For the first time since Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard were wearing red, there is a level of expectation around Liverpool.

It is something both Klopp and his squad must handle. And, for all the plaudits that have been directed at him during his time in England, Klopp is still yet to bring a trophy to the Anfield cabinet.

His terrible record in cup finals – seven games, a victory – is well known, but he does have experience of winning league titles, doing so twice with Borussia Dortmund.

ALSO READ: United aims to defy Mourinho’s doubts in Premier League opener

Centurions City still the ones to catch

Liverpool’s title bid does not just depend on how it fares. If Manchester City is to repeat last year's record-breaking campaign, no one will come close to denying Pep Guardiola's side the trophy.

City finished with 100 points last term - a whopping 25 clear of Klopp's side – and there would need to be a significant drop off from the champion for Liverpool to finish ahead of it this term.

Yet, with Chelsea and Arsenal undergoing managerial changes and transitioning from one era to the next, and Manchester United and Tottenham failing to greatly strengthen in the transfer market, it would appear that Liverpool is the team best equipped to challenge City.

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