You can’t deny that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is headstrong. He knows what he wants and he won’t settle for second best. You saw that when he waited to recruit Virgil van Dijk rather than sign an alternative in the summer of 2017. Despite pressure from outside, he stood by his opinion.
This summer, fans online have been calling on the club to strengthen the squad in order to bridge the gap to Manchester City at the top of the table. However, Klopp has another way of looking at things. He thinks stability is key to another title challenge, and he used the example of Manchester United under Ferguson to make his point:
“I really think big teams of the past – and I don’t say we are a big team now, that will be decided in a couple of years – they stay together for a number of years. They do not need a lot of changes.”
“They stayed together. A new player came in and then struggled and the same players played again. Man United had the class of ’92. How long did they stay together? They changed a couple of strikers after Cantona got older and brought in Van the Man or whoever. You do not change completely.”
It is admirable that he has such faith in this group of players that he feels they can go one better in the league this season. It’s hard to argue against his points considering the Reds won the Champions League back in May.
But for many supporters, it is not the strength of the starting eleven that is in the question, but the paucity of the rest of the squad. While City could afford to have Kevin De Bruyne miss most of last season and still win the title, Liverpool are not in such a position.
The departure of Alberto Moreno means the club have no natural left-sided replacement for Andy Robertson. The exit of Daniel Sturridge leaves the team lighter up front too, but no replacements have been found for the pair.
It seems to be a needless risk when only one or two new senior additions would have sufficed. It was clear in the domestic cups last season that the club lack strength in depth in certain areas of the pitch.
Third round losses in both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup did allow the Reds to focus on the Premier League and Europe but, in contrast, City were able to cope on all fronts to lift the domestic treble.
While Klopp insists Liverpool don’t have the finances to spend as much as the Citizens, supporters are not asking him to do that. Personally, a new left-back and another wide forward would have made me more confident of another sustained title challenge.
As it is, I am just more worried that if one of our key players gets injured, it will hand the advantage over to our rivals. Hopefully, it won’t come to that, though, and Liverpool are able to keep everyone fit and firing on all cylinders.