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Liverpool's 2017/18 Premier League season review

Liverpool saw out their 2018 Premier League campaign in style, thumping Brighton 4-0 to secure Champions league football for next season. Mo Salah was one of the scorers as he sets the single season record for the most goals scored in a PL campaign with 32.

The win wraps up what has been yet another solid season of improvement for the Reds under Jürgen Klopp who looks to guide the club back to their rightful place among Europe's elite.

We take a look at the club's campaign as a whole and how it fared in comparison to past Liverpool seasons.

The front three

by John Carl Bolido
by John Carl Bolido

If there's anything that epitomizes Liverpool under Jürgen Klopp's reign it's probably Liverpool's devastating front three. Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah combined to make the deadliest attack the Reds have seen since the days of Luis Suarez and prime Daniel Sturridge.

Let's put this into perspective, in the 2016/17 campaign Philippe Coutinho and Mané led the club in Premier League goals with 13 apiece. This year Mohamed Salah has more than doubled that. Setting the Premier League record with 32 goals in a single season. The Egyptian has effectively established himself as the league's best player this season beyond all reasonable doubt.

While Salah's accolades have effectively earned him the plaudits, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané have had spectacular seasons once again. Both proving to be as important as Salah in Klopp's dynamic system. Firmino for starters has played his best Premier League campaign to date, amassing a career best 15 goals and seven assists. Whilst Salah established himself as the club's best player, Firmino is the most important. He epitomizes Klopp's philosophy as his unselfishness and intelligence sets the overall tone of this Liverpool team.

Mané meanwhile hasn't enjoyed the most consistent campaign, with patches blighted by injury and that unfortunate red card he received against Manchester City early in the season. He seemed to be trying too hard at times yet despite all that he still scored ten goals and had seven assists. Not bad for a player having an off year. The Senegalese international's devastating pace gives the opposition nightmares which helps ease the pressure on the likes of Firmino and Salah.

The front three undoubtedly provides the overall identity of this Liverpool side. Goals have never been a problem for a Klopp team but the Reds have somehow become deadlier in front of goal this year, recording 84 goals scored in comparison to 78 last year. This will ultimately prove to be the foundation of this Liverpool side and it's quite a good one to have.

Virgil Van Dijk and an improved defence

Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip communicate — by John Carl Bolido
Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip communicate — by John Carl Bolido

For all their attacking brilliance, Liverpool's most blatant achilles heel has been defensively. No matter how many goals the Reds get there's always the fear that the side would collapse late on due to the overall softness of the back line. This has been a common theme for supporters for the past few seasons and this ultimately led to the £75M purchase of Virgil Van Dijk in an attempt to remedy this long standing issue.

Obviously Van Dijk alone would not solve the defensive issues but his presence certainly helped. Following a short adjustment period, the Dutchman has served as the defensive leader of the club, helping organize and steady a defence that has so often been erratic.

Additionally, Van Dijk led the Premier League in aerial duels won with the former Celtic man winning an impressive 72.3%. An absolutely titanic presence and certainly every bit the commanding presence Liverpool supporters have been expecting.

With all this talk about defence, I definitely can't leave out the young Scot Andrew Robertson who has proved to be one of the signings of the season. His defensive nous and attacking threat effectively places him as Liverpool's best left-back in years with his £8M price tag has proved to be an extremely shrewd piece of business for the club and he deservedly bagged his first goal for the club in the final day clash with Brighton.

Not to be left out, young Trent Alexander-Arnold has proved to be a revelation at right back for the Reds with his deadly crossing making him an effective outlet out wide. While forgotten man Loris Karius has staked his claim as Liverpool's number one in goal. Coming up with a number of crucial saves in both the league and Champions league campaigns for the Reds.

The drastic improvement from the defence as a whole addressed a major weakness in the side considerably. The club amassed 17 clean sheets throughout the year placing them third in the league, higher than the likes of Chelsea and Spurs and only two off leaders Manchester United whom are known for their defensive solidity.

With a key weakness looking not quite as glaring as in previous seasons, the club as a whole can go into games with the knowledge that even if the attack were to misfire, the back line can hold their own until the significant chances can be created. If you ask me that is one massive step forward in that regard for the Reds. Liverpool a defensive force? I must be dreaming.

Top four secured and more to come

by John Carl Bolido
by John Carl Bolido

Liverpool end the campaign with 75 points, one point less than the previous season but that can be forgiven due to the small fact that the club has expended a tremendous amount of energy en route the Champions league final. The fact remains though that the side as a whole has improved massively.

The numbers don't lie, 84 goals scored compared to 78 the prior year, 38 goals conceded four less than the previous year. A stellar improvement from Klopp's men on either side of the pitch.

Also noteworthy that Liverpool are the only side in English football's multiple tiers to finish the league season unbeaten at home. This is a somewhat underrated stat as one of the hallmarks of the great Liverpool sides is their ability to make Anfield a fortress, the club has done just that this year with a record of 12 wins and 7 draws at home. Although the draw total can be improved this is a positive step in making Anfield a place to be feared again.

A fourth place finish sees the Reds secure a Champions league spot for the second straight year. For a club on the up, consistent appearances in Europe's most prestigious competition is key and Liverpool have done just enough to achieve that. Champions league football can mean that the club can land their top transfer targets this summer. With Naby Këita coming in, the Reds will further look to strengthen key areas in the summer particularly depth-wise.

So that's that, another impressive campaign in the Premier league for Klopp's men who have achieved consecutive top four finishes since 2008 through 2009. Obviously the thought of the Champions league final in two week's time lingers over all our heads but let's just take a moment to appreciate the stability that Big Jürgen has brought to our club since his appointment.

As the gaffer said in his first press conference, “doubters to believers” in two year's time we're back in the Champions league and are playing Real Madrid in the Final.

Doubters to believers indeed.

This article was originally published on @mindofcarl