Liverpool may not have hit top gear yet, but you expect them to come good on all fronts this season. As always, the Reds will be competing on multiple fronts, and after being runners-up in the Champions League last term, they will be aiming to go one better this time around. However, they will begin their European adventure without midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita.
Chamberlain, 29, hasn't been involved at all this season, and with the midfield department short on numbers and quality to begin with, it's arguably one of the reasons why Jurgen Klopp moved to sign Arthur Melo on loan. Injuries have blighted Chamberlain's career, and with his contract due to expire in the summer, it's likely his stay at Anfield will be coming to an end within the coming months.
Keita, on the other hand, played for a few minutes in the Community Shield victory over Manchester City and was also named as a substitute against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, but he’s been hampered by a muscular problem that wasn’t deemed serious. But again, Melo’s arrival and the fact that the Guinean joins Oxlade-Chamberlain in being excluded from Liverpool’s Champions League squad ahead of the group stage raises questions over the severity of his injury.
Loan signing from Juventus Melo and seventeen-year-old Stefan Bajcetic replace Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita, with the Reds facing Napoli in their first fixture away from home. The Italian outfit, managed by Luciano Spalletti, are sure to prove a stern test to get this season's competition underway, with Liverpool's group also seeing them battling it out with Ajax and Rangers. But, Klopp's side is fancied to go well, regardless of their patchy Premier League form and the continued absence of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita.
At the time of writing, Liverpool remains one of the most fancied teams to win the Champions League, with Manchester City the current favourites with bookmakers. So, Klopp's side, who are recent winners of the tournament and came close to winning it again last term, have the credentials to be kings of Europe once again. But, there's still plenty of work to do if that is to happen in 2022/23.
While Mo Salah has two goals and two assists from six Premier League outings, the Egyptian currently looks a shadow of his former self. He’s not scored in three games, and when Liverpool won 9-0 against Bournemouth, the prolific goal-getter wasn’t on the scoresheet and spurned chances to make his mark. Many are putting it down to the changes within the front three, primarily because of Sadio Mane’s departure to Bayern Munich.
But there's plenty of time for Salah and Liverpool to his their stride, and you wouldn't bet against it happening. They remain a threat domestically and on the European stage, and they should make it through the group and progress to the latter stages of the Champions League, when Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita could both be added to the squad during the next registration period.