Jurgen Klopp is excited by his “reinvented” Liverpool team and believes they will only improve as the new players gel.
The deadline day signing of Ryan Gravenberch coupled with the earlier arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Wataru Endo means Klopp has a completely new-look midfield this season.
Over the past two seasons he has also remodelled Liverpool’s front line following the signings of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo.
And in the next few months Klopp will turn his attention to the defence with Virgil van Dijk, 32 and showing signs of being past his best, and Joel Matip – also 32 – out of contract next summer.
For now though Klopp is happy with the rebuild, especially after taking seven points from the first three games, despite two red cards.
“We pretty much had to reinvent the team,” Klopp said. “The midfield will be completely new and over the last few years we had to do the same with our front line.
“The most stable area is obviously the last line but not at this moment with injuries and suspensions. I really think we did good business, the players we brought in are really good, and will help the team. They will even get better, especially Macca [Mac Allister] and Dom [Szoboszlai] – you can see that already.
“For Endo it is a massive step and change in the way he used to play so that needs a bit of time to get there but it is no problem. When I look at the line-up and the options on the bench before we start a game I love it. Yes they are young but even that is great.
“We are less experienced – that is normal – but we are full of desire.”
Klopp believes his new midfield will offer more goals and creativity than the “old guard” but will have to learn to provide more stability and protection for the back line.
“We had to replace the most successful midfield in the recent history of this club,” he said.
“And we had to do that in a season where we didn’t qualify for the Champions League, which has a massive impact.
“In our best periods I remember the question was asked if we had enough of a goal threat from this midfield when we scored all the goals from the front line.
“I think we have much more of a goal threat in midfield now but the work-rate those guys [Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] put in – the stability they gave us was second-to-none and that is what we have to recreate as well.”
Klopp has considerably lowered the age profile of his squad but doesn’t believe a lack of experience will be a problem and cited his former club Borussia Dortmund as an example.
“Age is no issue,” he added. “I know it was ages ago, but at Dortmund we became the youngest champions ever [in the Bundesliga] and a year later the second-youngest champions ever as the team was a year older. That’s no problem, it didn’t hold us back then and it will not hold us back now.”
Klopp will be without both his first-choice centre-backs for the visit of Aston Villa to Anfield on Sunday with Van Dijk suspended and Ibrahima Konate injured. Matip and Joe Gomez will step in.
Meanwhile, Liverpool also rejected a £150m bid on deadline day from Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad for Mohamed Salah, according to reports.
i understands Al-Ittihad are convinced Salah can be tempted to join despite Liverpool’s insistence he is not for sale. The Saudi transfer window doesn’t close until 20 September. This means that Saudi clubs have another three weeks to sign players from major European leagues.
However, Klopp remains adamant that he won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
“Mo is super committed, really in training fully there, in the leadership meetings this week, he is fully in,” he continued.
“So why should I open something where there’s nothing? That’s your job [journalists]. You can write and do what you want.
“I have to deal with facts, and my fact is ‘all good, we are here and everything is fine.’”
Liverpool’s best XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson, Mac Allister, Gravenberch, Szoboszlai, Salah, Jota, Nunez