Last season, one team Jurgen Klopp couldn’t overcome during both legs of the league games he oversaw was Southampton. A 1 – 1 draw, that saw Mane equalized in the game’s dying minutes few months after the German took charge of the affairs at Anfield didn’t go down well with him. The 2nd round wasn’t any better, the team throwing away a 2 – 0 goal lead at half time to lose 2 – 3 (Mane with the winner) further incensed the EPL debutant coach. Once the summer windows opened, he snapped up Sadio Mane from the Saints as his squad rebuilding process continued. Maybe Southampton will no longer be a threat to Liverpool next season, with Mane out. But city rivals, Everton are likely to be a stumbling block in the Reds’ top 4 ambitions. With former Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman appointed, here is how it would likely shape the enmity between both Liverpool-based clubs.
Everton came 11th in the last 2 seasons, an unacceptable position given the club’s standard and reputation. Of course their rivals did better on both occasions. Even a 5th place finish in the 2013/2014 season still saw them come behind a 2nd placed Liverpool. It was for that reason the Goodison Park outfit parted ways with Roberto Martinez after he failed to lead them to the Champions League as earlier promised. Koeman was seen as the ideal candidate given how he improved Southampton in his 2 seasons in charge. A 7th and 6th place saw him improve on Maurice Pochettino’s 8th place when the now Tottenham was at the Saint Marys. For sure Everton won’t finish anywhere less than 10 position with the Dutch in charge, and it’s very possible they finish in a top 6 position.
It’s something their new coach has done before within 2 seasons of mastering the EPL, and that will threaten Liverpool’s position. Finishing in 8th place last term hasn’t put Klopp under any pressure, but in his first full season in charge of the club, all eyes will be on him. Despite arming his squad will some quality additions, Liverpool aren’t regarded as true title contenders yet, although it’s believed a top 4 finish is possible. For the first time in many seasons, both sides will be closely compared to each other. Every draw, win and loss will be scrutinized, with the clubs likely to engage in their own separate rat race on the log. The Manchester rivalry between arch enemies, Pep and Mourinho won’t be the only city battle next season. It might not even be the fiercest as the 2 are only continuing an old battle.
The Liverpool version is fresh and new. Both coaches are aiming for the same thing; a possible shot at the title, or at least to beat the other to an higher position on the log. It’s a distraction for Klopp, one he might not admit. Everton already have plans to spend more this summer, with £100million transfer funds available to the new coach. Losing the duo of Stones and Lukaku won’t affect the squad if it happens, as new arrivals will be pursued, like it was the case while Koeman was at Southampton. He brought in Graziano Pelle, Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic to spearhead the attack following the departure of some key and emerging players, and they delivered Europa League football. That could be happening at the Goodison Park too, but it could be the Champions League spot that will be clinched this time, and it doesn’t look like there is enough space on the table for Liverpool to fight for.