What 16 pundits have predicted for Liverpool’s prospects in 2022-23

·11-min read
Liverpool's Darwin Nunez holds the Community Shield at The King Power Stadium. 30th July 2022. Credit: PA Images
Liverpool's Darwin Nunez holds the Community Shield at The King Power Stadium. 30th July 2022. Credit: PA Images

Liverpool narrowly missed out on the title last season – but what are the pundits predicting for Jurgen Klopp’s side in the 2022-23 Premier League season?

The Reds have added Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay but the likes of Sadio Mane and Divock Origi have left the club this summer.

Here, we’ve rounded up what 16 pundits make of Liverpool’s summer business and what it will mean for their hopes in 2022-23.

Jamie Carragher

Speaking on the Overlap, Carragher admitted City were favourites for the league title but pointed out two possible advantages for his old side.

“I think, there’s a couple of things that I’m maybe hanging on to with Liverpool is the fact that I think once Virgil van Dijk was up to speed last season – you got the first three or four months out of the season – in the second half of the season, him and the goalkeeper [Alisson Becker] were absolutely what you would expect them to be and what they’ve been for the last three or four years.

“If you get them [Liverpool] at their best, at the very sort of start at the season, and don’t forget, every season van Dijk has been at Liverpool a full season, Liverpool have got over 90 points and the other thing is that Liverpool have got sort of three or four top players.”

When asked about the potential impact of the World Cup, Carragher added: “I don’t know about City to be honest; it might be the same, not going to the World Cup. So, Luis Díaz is not going, [Mohamed] Salah’s not going.

“I don’t really know City, but there’s a few decent players sort of from Liverpool I think, you know, could that make a difference in the second half of the season.”

Gary Neville

You wouldn’t expect Neville to give Liverpool any sort of public backing and the former Manchester United defender has predictably questioned the Red’s chances this year.

Speaking on the Overlap, Neville said: “I don’t think that, hand on heart, you could say that Liverpool have got stronger, because Mane was unbelievable.

“I don’t think that you can say that Liverpool are going to be weaker, but you can definitely say City are going to be equal to last season if not better.”

He unsurprisingly thinks City will win the league by a ‘big margin’.

Micah Richards

Asked by the Daily Mail whether anybody could stop his beloved City from winning a third successive league title, Richards replied: “Yes – and I say that without hesitation. We saw one of the tightest title races of all time last season with Liverpool only a point behind in the end.

“The quality both managers have at their disposal means we are now in a situation where neither side can really afford to drop points. The consistency they have shown has been off the scale and that is illustrated by their numbers from the last four seasons.

“City have taken 358 points from 152 games since August 2018; Liverpool have taken 357. There is barely anything between them and I expect it to be another close-run thing.”

He went on to add: “It could easily be another double for Jurgen Klopp; it might be the Carabao Cup and the Premier League, it might be the Champions League and the FA Cup.

“They came within two games of winning the lot last season and the respect I have for this squad could not be any higher.

“In doing the domestic Cup double last time around, Klopp showed how seriously he is taking these competitions now and they have got the squad depth to give things a really good go.

“The Carabao Cup is always a good one to target – you can’t underestimate how good it feels to get a trophy on board so early in the season.”

Paul Merson

Writing for Sportskeeda, Merson cast doubt over Liverpool’s title credentials and predicts that their season depends on absorbing the loss of Mane quickly.

“The only worry for Liverpool, on the other hand, is that they’ve lost an unbelievable player in Sadio Mane, who scored big goals for them over the years,” Merson wrote.

“They’ll have to rely on Darwin Nunez to settle as quickly as Luis Diaz did, which is obviously a long shot because the Colombian took to English football like a duck to water.

“If Jurgen Klopp can get Nunez firing immediately, it’ll be tight once again, but if that doesn’t happen, I think Manchester City should win the Premier League.”

Alan Shearer

“Liverpool will have been disappointed to only end up with two domestic cups last season from a campaign that promised so much, but we know exactly how they are going to react,” Shearer wrote in his BBC column.

“Even just watching them in the Community Shield and seeing the body language of Jurgen Klopp and his team in that game, you can see they are up for the fight again.”

But the former England captain has predicted City will just pip them to the title again.

Joleon Lescott

Needing to outshine Sky Sports, BT’s promotional campaign for the 2022-23 season involves hooking up pundits to lie detectors and asking them simple ‘yes or no’ questions. Genius.

And, when asked whether Liverpool will push City as close in the title race, Lescott’s reply of no was considered the truth by the totally 100% accurate device.

“I think Mane is a huge miss for them,” the former England defender said. “There were games where he just grabbed it by the horns and affected them. So I don’t think it will be as close as people think.”

Jonathan Woodgate

“Liverpool are going to miss Sadio Mane badly because he brought so much to the team with his closing down as well as his goals,” Woodgate told the BBC. We’re sensing a theme here.

“Without him, I don’t see the title race being as close as it was last season – I think City win the league by a much wider margin.”

Martin Keown

Keown also struck a downbeat note, questioning whether the Reds would maintain their trademark pressing style in the absence of Mane.

“Liverpool are the best pressers in world football, and Mane was best at it, so for them to be better without him is hard for me to take on board,” the former Arsenal and England defender told the BBC.

He also tipped Manchester City to adapt quicker to Erling Haaland than Liverpool would to Darwin Nunez. Ouch.

Sadio Mane playing for Liverpool in the Premier League game against Arsenal. Emirates, August 2016. Credit: PA Images
Sadio Mane playing for Liverpool in the Premier League game against Arsenal. Emirates, August 2016. Credit: PA Images

READ: Where are they now? The Liverpool XI from Sadio Mane’s debut in 2016

Didi Hamman

“The biggest issue with Liverpool is the lack of an attacking midfielder,” ex-Reds midfielder Hamann told Genting Casino. “They need to find a few goals from midfield but the way they’re set up now I can’t see them doing that.

“It remains to be seen how the dynamics of the team change because Darwin Nunez is a different player to Roberto Firmino who made the centre-forward position his own for the last few years.

“And then in Sadio Mane, Liverpool lost a player who averaged over 20 goals and 10 or 15 assists per season and we need to see if Luis Diaz can do that.

“He had a good start to his Liverpool career but whether he can do it year in, year out remains to be seen.”

Jermaine Jenas

But former Spurs and England midfielder Jenas was more effusive about the adaptability of Klopp’s side.

“I was thinking about Mane going and how he is a massive loss – they have lost one of the best players in the Premier League,” he told the BBC. “But it freshens their team up and they don’t have anything to worry about squad-wise.

“I can see Liverpool’s younger players like Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones contributing a lot more this season, and they have got the best defence in the league.”

He also predicted that the heartbreaking end to last season will give Liverpool added hunger for this campaign.

“As good as Liverpool’s season was last time, they suffered quite a lot of pain as well towards the end and that kind of stuff fires you up for the new season,” Jenas added.

“We saw it happen after they just missed out to City in 2018-19 and they came out absolutely flying. This time, I think those memories of missing out on the title and losing the Champions League final will be clear in the mind of these players as well.

“That bit of hunger might be the thing that gets them over the line.”

Matthew Upson

“Like City, Liverpool have got a new striker with Nunez, but they have probably got a bit more clarity with their system,” Upson stated when asked for his pre-season predictions by the BBC.

“They are used to playing the ball forward quickly, which suits a centre-forward like him and they are more direct in that way with crosses, balls over the top and down the flanks.”

Danny Murphy

“I expect Haaland to settle a little bit quicker than Nunez, only because he has got that little bit more experience, but that is probably a little bit unfair on Nunez because straight away he is looking like a real threat and full of energy,” Murphy told the BBC.

“They are going to go toe to toe with City again.”

Nedum Onuoha

Surprisingly, it’s fallen to Onuoha to back Liverpool to beat his old club to the Premier League title.

Speaking to ESPN, the former defender justified his decision by saying: “With the Liverpool and Manchester City thing for the Premier League title, it does feel like they are far and away the two sides closest to winning it.

“But it’s always a toss-up, it’s by a point. Or just maybe a bit more than that. I think, at this moment time, the players that have come in at Man City and the ones that have left.

“I think for Liverpool, as I saw on Saturday, it almost feels like it’s the same old Liverpool. It felt exactly the same. For Man City, searching for that maybe something different, perhaps it means they won’t hit the ground running in the way they need to be really competitive all the way throughout.

“Again, it’s a toss-up. I could have said Man City or Liverpool, neither will be a surprise – Some Man City fans are going to be unhappy with me.”

Onuoha also tipped Reds defender Virgil van Dijk to be named Player of the Year.

Stuart Pearce

And Pearce is another former City defender that’s publically backed Liverpool to win their first league title since 2020.

“If you asked me who I think will win the league this year, it will be Liverpool,” he told talkSPORT. “Personally, with City winning the league twice in a row, I think it takes away a couple of per cent.

“I think Liverpool will have that little bit more hunger in their bellies and their striker options are so outstanding. So yes, I think they’re the ones and they’ll beat Man City this year.”

The ex-England defender also said: “I think Luis Diaz could be player of the year. I was so impressed with Diaz last season, how he hit the ground running, his goals, his effort. He’s almost unshakable on the ball, I really like him.

“Will Liverpool miss Mane, of course, but I think Diaz could be a slightly better player and a better goalscorer. I think he could be a special player this year. What a talent.”

Trevor Steven

Even a dye-in-the-wool Evertonian like Steven has backed Liverpool to lift the Premier League trophy at the end of May.

Writing for City AM, the former England international said: “It pains me to write this as a former Evertonian, but I think it could be Liverpool’s year again in the Premier League.

“Although Sadio Mane has moved on, their forward options look stronger than ever. Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota can fill in for Mane, while marquee summer transfer Darwin Nunez will add another attacking dimension.

“Crucially, striker Nunez seems ready to slot into the team straight away without changing the way that Liverpool play.”

Alex McLeish

“It was very close last year, there was nothing in it between City and Liverpool,” McLeish told Football Insider. “City showed they could handle the pressure at the end by winning that incredible finish to the season.

“I would actually put Liverpool as favourites after watching them in the Community Shield. The players have had another season of experience and they want to go one better.

“It is very, very difficult to retain the Premier League. I have a feeling Liverpool will dominate.”

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