Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp signed a new six-year contract with the Reds earlier this week and will be hoping to lead the team back to their glory days.
However he still has a long way to go to get the Merseysiders back to the top of the English football tree.
There have been positive signs that the Reds are moving in the right direction, but there have also been inexplicable defeats and errors that have led to defeat.
The German has instilled his philosophy and this summer he will be hoping to sign the right players to implement that philosophy.
Klopp’s first pre-season with Liverpool
Liverpool have started their first pre-season campaign under the affable Klopp. He has been at the club less than a year, but will know which players fit into his philosophy and plans for next season. No doubt the former-Dortmund boss will also know which areas of the team that he needs to strengthen.
Klopp has already reshaped his squad this summer with the arrival of ‘keeper Loris Karius, centre-back Joel Matip, midfielder Marko Grujic and most costly of all winger Sadio Mane, who cost a reported fee of £35million.
It seems pretty clear from his signings so far that Klopp believes he needs to strengthen most of the areas of his team. The only position he is yet to strengthen this summer is up front, but that may happen if Belgian striker Christian Benteke is moved on for a hefty fee this summer.
The team will be accustomed to Klopp’s style next season
For me Jurgen Klopp is one of the best tacticians in the world game. His work with Dortmund to outdo German overlords Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga was simply brilliant. With fewer resources Klopp managed to win the Bundesliga twice.
The only way Bayern could find to stop Klopp and his team was buy their star players, as first attacking midfielder Mario Gotze left for Bavaria and then star striker Robert Lewandowski. It must have been galling for the charismatic boss.
He was always fighting a losing battle to keep his best players and win trophies. During his time with Mainz and Dortmund he had a knack of buying players at bargain prices and developing them into top stars.
Liverpool fans will be hoping that Klopp continues that knack on Merseyside. The likes of Matip, Grujic and Karius are all relatively young and unknown quantities to the average Premier League fan, so maybe they will turn out to be the players that Klopp turns into kop superstars.
All three players obviously have potential otherwise Klopp would not have signed them in the first place. These are the sorts of players that Klopp has polished and turned into gems in the past.
More realistic expectations at Liverpool
For years a certain section of the Liverpool fan base has spouted statements about how the Reds are going to win the league and dominate the English game once again.
However, it seems the expectations at the club are now far more realistic and the majority of Liverpool fans are behind Jurgen Klopp’s managerial methods.
The Reds are currently odds of 11/8 to claim a Champions League spot in the new campaign, which probably reflects the more realistic expectations surrounding the club. Klopp has instilled a sense of belief within the team and fans, but the team now needs to find the sort of consistency they failed to find last season.
Klopp is a very good coach and the Reds players will no doubt be more in-tune with what their boss style. Last season Liverpool played some heavy metal football, but also produced some easy listening performances.
Last season was just the dress rehearsal in Jurgen Klopp’s reign as Liverpool boss. Next season will be the big show. A top-finish is a realistic possibility for the Reds, but so many teams are aspiring to finish in those Champions League spots, almost half the league in fact.
Liverpool did make progress in the style of play last season, but not in their results. A top-four next season would vindicate Klopp’s work on Merseyside and show that the Reds are moving in the right direction.
Will Liverpool finish in the Premier League’s top four next season?