Jurgen Klopp has the qualities to lead a Premier League title charge at Liverpool next season, according to club favourite Gary McAllister.
Klopp took the squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers last October to two finals in 2015-16, although Liverpool were beaten in both showpieces, with Manchester City pipping them on penalties in the League Cup and Sevilla coming out on top in the Europa League.
The Reds’ eighth-place finish in the Premier League and defeat to Sevilla means they will not play European football next term.
However, McAllister – a cult hero on the red half of Merseyside thanks to his key role in the club’s treble-winning 2000-01 season – feels a less hectic fixture schedule, coupled with Klopp’s managerial stardust, could help Liverpool compete for the title in 2016-17.
The former Scotland captain, now a club ambassador at Anfield, told Omnisport: “One of the downsides of the Europa League is that it means coming back after playing on a Thursday night to always play on a Sunday or a Monday so that’s not here next season.
“So they can purely focus on getting right up the league and challenging right at the top.
“That’s got to be the focus. The expectations are always high at Liverpool and that’s the pressure that comes on the players, and they’ve got to try and get up there.
“I think enough has been shown since Jurgen came in that to see that we can compete right at the very top.”
McAllister also highlighted how vital the upcoming pre-season could be to Klopp’s objective of re-establishing Liverpool as a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League.
“It’s his first pre-season, and I think you can see by the way that Jurgen wants to play that the physical side of it is important, and that makes pre-season even more important,” the former midfielder added.
“It’s his first opportunity to work with the players over an extended period – not just recovering – because they played a lot of games this season.
“So it’s important for Jurgen, but it’s also important for the players to get in and really get to know the philosophy that Jurgen’s trying to get across.”