Jurgen Klopp says midfielder Jordan Henderson remains an integral part of his squad despite the club’s big money summer signings.
The Reds have splashed big on two new players in the centre of park in the form of Naby Keita and Fabinho, both of whom joined the club on July 1st.
Keita joined from RB Leipzig a year after having agreed a £54 million switch to Anfield, while Fabinho made the move from AS Monaco in a deal worth £40 million.
Liverpool also completed the £13 million signing of Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City – with the Swiss International able to operate as both a winger and an attacking midfielder.
Despite three new additions in midfield and potentially more to come (Nabil Fekir could yet become a Red before Thursday) however, Klopp insists Henderson, and James Milner, remain an huge part of his plans.
“Hendo is so important to us, not only as a player but also as a person and as a leader,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.
“You need these players like Hendo and Millie to help create a special spirit in the squad, otherwise it doesn’t work.
“There are no doubts about Hendo. I didn’t need the final proof in and around the World Cup or in last season.
“He had to learn kind of a new position for him. I still remember the Burnley game [at Turf Moor in August 2016] when we lost 2-0 with 80 per cent possession.
“Hendo for sure was involved in the first goal with a press ball that he didn’t win. One of the main things I was asked about after the game was: ‘Can he really play as the No.6?’ I said: ‘Yes, he can and he will.’ He had to learn and he had to improve and that’s exactly what he did.
“He can still play as the eight or we could play some games with a double six, Fabinho could play the eight or whatever, that’s all possible.
“If things were fixed with just one line-up and all the others were only needed when the rest are ill that would be the wrong way and we’d have no chance.”
Henderson made 37 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool last year as the Reds finished fourth in the Premier League and reached the Champions League final, and also starred in England’s run to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.