Former Liverpool player Jan Molby believes Jurgen Klopp’s side are perfectly placed to get off to a winning start against “under-cooked” Arsenal on Sunday.
Having replaced Brendan Rodgers in October, Klopp guided the Reds to eighth last season, six places and eleven points behind Arsene Wenger’s runners-up.
Molby, though, believes Liverpool’s impressive pre-season, culminating in a 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona at Wembley, means they have an excellent chance of clinching an opening day win at the Emirates Stadium.
“If you are going to play a top club away from home on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season then you want it to be Arsenal,” Molby, who won three First Division titles under Kenny Dalglish between 1986 and 1990, wrote in his column for the Liverpool Echo.
“Sunday is a good time for Liverpool to be going to the Emirates. Arsenal are without a number of key players, especially defensively, and from what I’ve seen they look under-cooked.”
Molby backed Divock Origi to lead the line on Sunday, believing his pace and power will cause problems for an Arsenal defence missing Per Mertesacker and Gabriel.
The Dane also feels the experience of 30-year-old Ragnar Klavan means he will get the nod ahead of fellow Bundesliga import Joel Matip.
However, Molby was less certain about captain Jordan Henderson’s role in the starting eleven following the £25million arrival of Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum from relegated Newcastle.
“I think the manager will go for Gini Wijnaldum ahead of Jordan Henderson in midfield,” Molby wrote. “It would be a big deal to leave out the captain and Henderson gives you greater defensive solidity.
“But Klopp wants Liverpool to be brave and he wants quality in terms of creating chances in that area.”