Jurgen Klopp has done it – he made us (most of us, including me) believers. For the first time in ages, I was able to enjoy my summer without worrying about Liverpool football club. And I have to admit it was strange. I didn’t feel the need to read rumours, I didn’t F5, didn’t track flights or vans – I finally trust the people making the decisions. And that is the overwhelming feeling among the supporters, which has never been the case in recent times.
Addressing the Concerns
The biggest reason I didn’t follow transfer news like a maniac was the acquisition of Fabinho. It calmed me down after the devastating loss in Kiev. The defensive midfielder position was a problem ever since Javier Mascherano became the first fan favourite to leave for Barcelona and with an out of the blue twitter video, it was sorted. Emre Can leaving was no longer a problem. It was clear – for the third summer in a row, the Reds mean business. Sure the world cup complicates things a bit and the transfer window is shorter but Edwards has only given us reasons to trust him.
The goalkeeper was another longtime issue. The uncertainty surrounding Loris Karius after the Champions League final made the situation even more complicated. On one hand, the German had a concussion, which explains the howlers. On the other, he still needs to get over the mistakes, which judging by his performance in the friendlies has not happened yet. In comes Alisson.
Improving the Squad
Most of you have seen the comparison between the starting eleven in Klopp’s first game and the possible starting lineup for the upcoming season. The improvement is staggering. One if the best if not the best teams LFC has had during the Premier League era was in 2008/2009. The best midfield in the world at the time behind one of the best strikers on the planet and a solid defence. The below picture illustrates squad depth in all three season:
The 2008/2009 squad lacked depth in all positions except centre back and that cost us the league. Ten years later, at least on paper, the depth problem is resolved. There isn’t a single position without a capable backup. The gap in quality between the starting front free and their reserves is still pretty big. The lack of a quality back up winger/wide forward cost us games last season. It was obvious that our counter attacks suffered greatly when Mo or Sadio were not playing. Shaqiri will compensate for at least a part of it.
The other LFC squad to challenge for the league was the 2013/2014 team, lead by a crazy Uruguayan. The lack of quality in defence was our downfall that year. Yet another issue that is resolved in the current team.
The Perfect Red World Cup
LFC has an incredibly likeable squad, so it’s hard not to root for them when they represent their countries. So even though Egypt’s and Senegal’s early exits were good for the Reds, I really felt for Mo, since he was clearly not ready to play. Salah and Mane didn’t really need the world cup to prove how good they are. Instead, the two players that really had a point to prove – Lovren and Henderson, had an incredible tournament. The Croatian was selected as part of the official team of the tournament.
Meanwhile, all teams that finished in front of us last season had key players go all the way to the last weekend of the tournament. Our rivals will most likely be missing entire lines of their starting lineups – Spurs and Man United in particular
I’m a Believer
Three years of constant improvement. A champions league final. Circumstances seemingly going LFC’s way. Management that not acknowledges the areas of concern in the squad but also spends the required money to bring in a quality long-term solution. So why worry? Grab a beer and go to the beach. Read a book. Enjoy the next three weeks and don’t obsess over LFC. There is no need to check your phone every 15 minutes anymore – Edwards, Klopp and FSG have got this. Liverpool is one the most well-run clubs in the world at the moment. And I am a believer. Thanks, Jurgen!