Liverpool squad for West Ham shows just how much they've improved
This is a serious upgrade for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp wasted no time this summer in improving Liverpool's squad. Since agreeing a deal to bring Naby Keita to Anfield from RB Leipzig, the German coach has made it his priority to strengthen every weak point of his team.
While they exceeded expectations last season - particularly in the Champions League - there were clear areas that needed improvement, particularly in midfield and in goal.
The signing of the aforementioned Keita and the big money acquisition of Alisson Becker from AS Roma did exactly that, but one glance at Liverpool's squad ahead of their Premier League opener against West Ham United gives and insight into just how much the team's general squad has improved.
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) August 12, 2018
While Alisson and Keita start against West Ham, two additional new recruits - Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho - start the match on the bench. On the subs bench they are also joined by Loris Karius, Nathaniel Clyne, captain Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge.
Compare that, if you will, to the substitutes named for the side's 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid. That bench, which can be seen below, contains Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Dominic Solanke.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 26, 2018
Now while doubts remain over the fitness of Lallana and Sturridge, it simply cannot be ignored how much of an upgrade this is. On top of this, the Reds' match day squad against West Ham does not contain Dejan Lovren, a player who is the focus of much derision but also, on his day, is as good as most in the league.
More than anything, it showcases how - in the space of a couple of seasons - Klopp has eliminated almost all of the deadwood in the Liverpool squad and replaced it with players who can make a genuine impact for them this season.