Jürgen Klopp is looking for his Liverpool side to begin their Premier League season quickly, starting this Sunday.
The Reds travel to the Emirates for their curtain-raising clash with the Gunners. This will be their first of four straight away games before even kicking a ball at Anfield this season, with the Main Stand redevelopment not completed in time for the start of the season.
After Arsenal, Liverpool then face newly-promoted Burnley and after that in the EFL Cup second two they come up against Burton Albion before finally travelling back to London to take on Tottenham Hotspur.
When speaking to the Liverpool Echo about Liverpool’s first four games, Klopp said: “We take it like it is. You have to play all of them home and away at some stage.”
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When discussing the difficulty of their start to the season Klopp insisted: “Of course the start is difficult,” and went on to say: “It’s not just away, it’s away at Arsenal. Second game a team who were promoted last season, on a high with great atmosphere” and then added: “Then Tottenham.”
He admitted that it's "not easy" but said that the Premier League is "never easy" and that in truth he hasn't "thought for a second about it."
Klopp spoke confidently of their preparation saying: “I only think about the teams we play, not where we will play,” before declaring: “We will be ready.”
Defensive rebuilding and injuries
Liverpool have had it tough with injuries this summer with Loris Karius (broken hand), Lucas Leiva (hamstring), Mamadou Sakho (Achilles) and Joe Gomez (Achilles) all being sidelined with injuries. Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge (hip), James Milner (heel) and Marko Grujic (ankle) are all doubts for this weekend's clash against Arsenal.
One of Klopp's first tasks as Liverpool manager was to sort out their defence, which he got to right away. Joel Matip was signed from FC Schalke on a free while he also signed Ragnar Klavan - an experienced 30-year-old Estonian defender - as defensive cover this season because Kolo Toure was released and Martin Skrtel was allowed to leave for Fenerbahçe.
However, left-back remains a position of weakness. Many fans feel Alberto Moreno isn’t first-team quality and Klopp suggested he may also feel this way as he played Milner at left-back in several of Liverpool’s last pre-season friendlies.
Liverpool were heavily linked with German left-back Jonas Hector at the very start of the summer and have more recently been tipped to make moves for Jordan Amavi and Jetro Willems.
With Jon Flanagan going to Burnley on a season-long loan and Brad Smith joining AFC Bournemouth for a £6 million, it is vital that Liverpool purchase a new left-back before the summer transfer window shuts.
But Klopp gave nothing away as to his plans for the rest of the summer.
Klopp admitted: “We needed to strengthen and we’ve done that,” before going on to say: “The situation with the keeper and the centre-backs [injuries] in pre-season hasn’t been too cool but this season we will be able to react better.”
Speaking of his current squad Klopp revealed: “We have built a squad not just so we can react to injuries, but also so that we have different options for different opponents - smaller spaces, counter-attack. Things like this.”
Klopp also declared that the backroom staff “feel much better” about their options in comparison to last season because it's “about ensuring we always have quality and really good players on the pitch who can follow our plan," he said.
The Reds boss continued: “There was a little step back initially but then a big step in the right direction. We’re in a really good way.”