Liverpool had a season of exceptional progress in 2016/2017. The rewards of finishing in the top four mean a lot to the team. They find themselves in their first Champions league season since 2009/2010 and have had a strong start in the Premier League.
Even with the potential loss of their wonder boy Philippe Coutinho, to Barcelona for a record fee, Jürgen Klopp is confident in his team’s abilities to do well in the coming local and European season and a hammering at the weekend.
Klopp believes that the team needs to find some consistency this season. Avoiding the pull-back in performance after a good season, that has haunted Liverpool teams of recent years, will be crucial to the team finding their feet and dealing with the high demands of a grueling competitive season ahead.
The potential sale of Coutinho will leave the club flush with extra cash. However, Klopp does not seem overly keen to spend at this stage. Klopp has remained rock-solid in his management style, even in the face of external pressures that occur around the clubs transfer market activities. With failed attempts to acquire the skills of Naby Keïta of RB Leipzig and Monaco’s Kylian Mbappé now removed from the table, the manager has settled on Mohamed Salah from Roma for £36.9m.
Klopp has managed to settle on a squad that has grown accustomed to his management style and grown to play well under his guidance. There are no current disruptions in the change rooms, and the team is gelling well together. The recent Champions league playoff game against Hoffenheim, had the squad convincingly defeat their opponents to a score of 4 -2 at Anfield.
Klopp has made it a priority to pursue quality over quantity, as this strategy is starting the bear fruit. The squad emerged as real contenders for the title last season, coming close to usurping Chelsea over the Christmas period. They finished ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United in the domestic league, providing thrilling engagements between the club and the top four.
The club’s real issues with success last season came from a lack of depth in the squad. Klopp has argued that the demands of the busy fixture schedule, which included a league cup semi-final and a loss of key players to the African Cup of Nations tournament. These unfortunate circumstances were responsible for the clubs drop in performance for the second half of the season and the loss of any hope of a title challenge.
The manager believes that the squad is looking good, apart from needing additions to the roster in central midfield and central defense. However, the marked improvement in the squad leads Klopp to believe that the team is on track and should see further improvement in the 2017/2018 season, despite a demanding champions league season added into the mix.
Liverpool fans remain skeptical of the manager’s ambitions, with the pending sale of Coutinho leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many diehard supporters. However, with the team on the rise and taking off to a flying start to the new season, both domestically and in Europe, they may be willing to see how this season plays out in the hands of the German.