Jurgen Klopp is preparing for his first full season in charge of a Premier League club, and while Liverpool could only manage an eighth-place finish last campaign – there’s plenty of reasons to suggest that the German boss can take this team further this time round.
Klopp acted quickly in this transfer window, securing Joel Matip, Loris Karius and Saido Mane before July, and the Reds have since added defender Ragnar Klavan, free agent Alex Manninger and Newcastle United star Georginio Wijnaldum – all for a combined total of £68m.
Adding depth to his squad looks to have been a priority for Klopp during the close-season, and competition for places most notably in the attacking department has arguably never been stronger.
Mane and Wijnaldum will join Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the battle for a starting place in the final third, with Christian Benteke’s departure looking imminent.
While many of the Premier League big-boys are still on the hunt in this summer’s transfer window, Klopp’s business seems all but complete, and his squad will undoubtedly be well prepared for their opening fixture away at Arsenal on Sunday.
Though the aim of pre-season friendlies is to increase match fitness and work on any new tactics, Liverpool fans will have reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season given a few of the performances they’ve witnessed.
The Reds kept six clean sheets in nine of their fixtures, scoring 17 goals in the process. And while they suffered defeats to Chelsea and Roma, Klopp will be happy with the level of opposition he his side has performed against.
A 4-0 win at Wembley against Barcelona won’t be forgotten about in a hurry, either.
No European distraction
Though Liverpool fans will be disappointed not to be facing any of Europe’s elite this season (unless a Premier League trip to Swansea counts), the silver lining is that the Reds will be avoiding the dreaded Thursday night fixtures.
It’s a big ask to maintain a high position in the league while competing for European silverware, and Klopp’s men won just four out of 11 Premier League games which directly followed Thursday night Europa League matches last year.
The depth in quality at Anfield combined with the lack of European football means there is no reason why Liverpool shouldn’t be aiming for a top-four finish this year, and at 7/5, Klopp’s men look great value.