Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp put his head on the block somewhat when claiming the Reds’ squad to now be his own, and his responsibility, after seven comings and ten goings to and from Anfield so far this summer.
Prior to his side’s 2-0 win over AC Milan in an International Champions Cup friendly, the former Borussia Dortmund boss said:
“This is my squad now…There are probably no players here anymore I don’t want. There are no signings I didn’t want, we have not sold anyone I didn’t want to.
“I am happy with my team now, and all I can say is we will be a challenger, we will fight for everything…”
With striker Christian Benteke still likely to be offloaded before the summer, and a new left-back desperately needed, Liverpool have surely not finished spending at £70m, with £34m Sadio Mane and £25m Georginio Wijnaldum the marquee additions.
That being said, Klopp at least appears most of the way right, with Liverpool sitting on a not-entirely-unique opportunity this term.
No European football this season leaves Liverpool where they were in Brendan Rodgers’ second campaign in charge, when the Reds stormed the Premier League, only being pipped to first place in the final weeks by Manchester City.
Louis van Gaal managed to drag Manchester United back into the Champions League during his first term at the Old Trafford helm, when the Red Devils were bereft of European football, while Leicester’s ability to solely concentrate on the top-flight in 2015/16 appeared to give them an edge over busier rivals.
The only fronts Klopp’s men will be fighting on for the first half of 2015/16 are the Premier League and Capital One Cup, with some FA Cup action thrown in after Xmas.
Good news keeps coming, as Arsenal at the Emirates await the Reds on the opening day of the campaign, with the Gunners usually dreadful during the first weekend, particularly at home, and looking bedraggled at the back through injuries.
A good start from a trio of away clashes that also include Burnley and Tottenham would see Liverpool’s 6/4 top-four odds shrink rapidly.