“This pre-season brought us new players” – Jurgen Klopp hails individuals’ improvements

5 August 2017

While there is still work to do in the transfer market, Jurgen Klopp believes the displays of a clutch of Liverpool’s fringe players could provide solutions.

The Reds rounded off pre-season with a 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in Dublin on Saturday evening, through goals from Roberto Firmino, Ben Woodburn and Dominic Solanke.

Klopp’s squad against the Liga outfit was weakened by the absence of Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge through injury.

But speaking after the game, the German was emphatic in his belief that some of those previously on the outside looking in had curried favour ahead of 2017/18.

“We’ve always said that until August 31 we’ll run through the world with open eyes,” he told reporters at the Aviva Stadium.

“That’s clear, but it’s not us alone who decides about these things. It’s all about other clubs [too].

“Our situation, I thought today and this pre-season brought us new players, if you want.

Alberto Moreno is 100 percent back, which is very nice after a really difficult year.

Andrew Robertson shows all the skills he has, of course he still has to adapt to our way of playing but you can already see what a threat he can be offensively.

“That means Milly is free for midfield, so without being in the transfer market we have a new midfield player, which is nice.

“Dom Solanke, I think he’s already shown that he’s ready for some adult football.

Ryan Kent, I’ve known him for one-and-a-half years and last year he developed unbelievably well and this pre-season is completely different to last pre-season, he’s completely showed up now.

“So, without paying too much money or the highest transfer fees we have additions in the squad. That’s good.”

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Saturday, August 5, 2017: Liverpool's Alberto Moreno during a preseason friendly match between Athletic Club Bilbao and Liverpool at the Aviva Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It would be easy to take a critical slant on Klopp’s view, particularly with the continued need to sign a new centre-back, but there is certainly virtue in his approach.

Moreno’s performances against Bilbao and Bayern Munich were hugely impressive, and the arrival of further competition in Robertson may well have jolted to Spaniard into improvement.

Elsewhere, Kent’s effervescent output on the flanks has come as something of a surprise, but the 20-year-old has surpassed Sheyi Ojo and could provide welcome cover for Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

And the arrival of Solanke from Chelsea has proved a revelation, with the youngster scoring his third goal of pre-season against Bilbao, looking capable of serving as Firmino’s deputy.

Klopp has frequently stressed the importance of training during pre-season as on a par with work in the transfer market.

And after eight games over a gruelling summer, some of his players may well have proved that.

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