Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp loves his reinvented midfield and believes the club have done good business this summer.
The £35million signing of Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch, with the deal expected to be finalised before the deadline after the 21-year-old flew to Merseyside for his medical on Thursday, will complete a total rejuvenation of the Reds’ engine room.
Klopp was always planning to revamp his midfield this summer but even he did not expect to change the whole unit, only for the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to Saudi Arabia to force him into a radical overhaul.
Argentina’s World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and RB Leipzig’s Dominik Szoboszlai were early arrivals as part of the planned revamp, but the addition of Wataru Endo and Gravenberch, who was a long-term target but was considered unavailable, came much later than expected after Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia both turned them down for a move to Chelsea.
“We pretty much had to reinvent the team. The midfield is all ready and will be completely new,” he said.
“We had to do that in a season where we didn’t qualify for the Champions League, which has a massive impact.
“I know people expect it to be different but it is how it is. I really think we did good business, the players we brought in are really good, will help the team.
“We are less experienced but that is normal, but we are full of desire and I love this team.”
Mac Allister, who was initially asked to play an unfamiliar holding role, and Szoboszlai have both settled in quickly, which was to be expected as they had a full pre-season to adapt to Klopp’s methods.
The manager expects them to make bigger strikes, although he conceded Endo will take longer after only arriving from Stuttgart mid-August, but believes they have the capability to match the successes of the players they have replaced.
“The natural skill-set is obvious but we had to replace the most successful midfield in the young (recent) history of this club,” added Klopp ahead of Sunday’s visit of Aston Villa.
“Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Gini Wijnaldum a few years ago. All had big parts in the team. Naby (Keita), (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain, they all played big parts in that midfield.
“In our best periods I remember you asked me the question if we had enough of a goal threat from this midfield when we scored all the goals from the front line.
“I think we have much more goal threat in midfield now but the work-rate these guys put in, the stability they gave us was second-to-none and that is what we have to create as well.
“We will see how we do that because we can play different systems, we have to think about that during the season definitely.
“But I think it is clear the players we brought in have real quality, are young and in a super way really excited about the opportunity of being here, so that’s a cool mix.”