This summer, one of the traditional powerhouses in England has been slowly rebuilding the foundations of the empire. The arrival of the seductive Jürgen Klopp last October has galvanized the Reds, and many other clubs fear they may be on the up once again. When you look at the understated quality of their transfer business, though, they are looking pretty solid.
Much has been made of a lack of ‘statement signings’ from the club this summer. But, when you see the pedigree of some of the players signed, they have plenty of quality about them. Football is of course a team sport, and Liverpool seem to be building a squad with that in mind. Rather than chasing marquees that gets tourists taking notice, Klopp seems to be building to a formula that was a major success in the past for him.
Filling the Gaps
Last year, three major problems existed – a defence that was mismatched if Dejan Lovren or Mama Sakho missed out with the introduction of Martin Skrtel, a player who never matched the defensive philosophy of the team. A goalkeeper that nobody fully trusted who added further uncertainty throughout the team. An inability to stay true to the faiths and ideals of the team playstyle when things would go wrong.
Well, with the addition of some very exciting players this summer, this may be corrected. Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan both arrived for undisclosed fee, and offer depth. Both are quality defenders who, crucially, fit perfectly the ideals that Klopp seeks from both central defenders.
Loris Karius arrives from Mainz in Germany and brings a wonderful reputation and astute demeanor in goals. When he recovers from a hand injury sustained in pre-season, he should help with the uncertainty at the back in the same way that Klavan and Matip make it easier to build a defensive structure built around the team, not to accommodate unsuitable defenders.
With the introduction of Gini Wijnaldum from Newcastle and Sadio Mane from Southampton, too, Klopp has seen major changes. Now, he has two players who perfectly fit his playstyle and are unlikely to lose faith in the way they play when the chips are down.
This adds more belief and a better tactical suitability to Liverpool. With unsuitable players moving on in favor of those who fit the Klopp ideal perfectly, Liverpool look to be more accomplished than they were last year by a large margin.
The Reds look to have a squad that is less likely to play as they did in the UEFA Europa League Final again. The squad looks settled and in total belief of how they should play, regardless of where they are at or how they are operating in the match.
This is a vital change for Liverpool and could be a catalyst to long-term improvements. Setting demands on league placing would be hard to do due to the complex nature of the league, but anything above 70 points would be a strong progressive season for Kloppo and Liverpool.