Liverpool have already returned for pre-season training, and there was some good news to come out of Melwood on the first day back.
Far and away their player of last season, Mo Salah announced that he’d penned a new long-term deal, bringing to an end rumours which had linked him with Real Madrid, Barcelona and others.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Liverpool were still something of a laughing stock. Not anymore.
Salah’s renewal shows that this is a club and a team that are going places.
Much of the credit for that has to go to the effervescent Jurgen Klopp. An astute coach, he lives and breathes every moment and that energy is clearly transmitted to his players.
Losing a Champions League final could’ve seen Salah et al take the view that here was a team what would always be close but not quite there. Looking for pastures new where silverware is, as much as it can be, guaranteed, might’ve been a preferable short-term option.
Klopp and his board have therefore worked wonders in ultimately turning that negative into a positive. A stepping stone on the path to greater long-term success.
Certainly, if their trajectory continues on the same upward curve, they can’t be discounted for the title next season, and as we head into the new campaign, the Premier League crown will be the first aim.
With Naby Keita and Fabinho joining in with their new team mates for the first time, Klopp has added two more players of the highest quality to supplement those already in situ, and with others on the way back from injury – Joe Gomez, Joel Matip et al – this is shaping up to be one of the best summer windows for years for the reds.
Even if the latter doesn’t come off, Klopp and Liverpool’s owners FSG are doing exactly as they promised – Improving year on year.
Along with Manchester City, the brand of football seen at Anfield in 2017/18 was exquisite, and hugely reminiscent of Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’ at Borussia Dortmund.
All that’s missing now is silverware, and it says an awful lot that Liverpool are still able to attract such top-class talent having not won a league title since 1990 or a European title since 2005.
In an age where money rules, it’s refreshing to see that the prestige and heritage in the Liverpool name count for a lot.
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