The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - 2018/19 Season Preview

Where the time went, nobody knows, since England's heroics brought last season to a close. That's all over, we go again. Jurgen Klopp has prepared his men. The Reds have been busy once more. With four new players coming through the Melwood door. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly the new season previewed at the worlds favourite football club Liverpool FC.  

The Good 

The new signings. Finally, Naby Keita has arrived at Anfield. The failed attempt to land the Guinean ended with a deal to bring the combative Leipzig midfielder to Liverpool after a year. The wait is over and the 23 year-old Pele play-alike has played his first game for his new club.

His versatility will be a welcome addition to the side. I've seen him play for Leipzig a few times last year and he certainly won't disappoint. 

Fabinho has been a surprise addition to the squad. His arrival from Monaco caught many off-guard as Jürgen Klopp sought to get his transfer business done quickly, quietly and early. The claimed £44m transfer fee will be justified should he live up to his undoubted talent.

The Brazilian represents an upgrade on old club favourite Lucas Leiva, as well as stiff competition for Gini Wijnaldum and captain Jordan Henderson. Let's all hope the 24 year-old recovers from a "knock" he picked up against Torino. 

Xherdan Shaqiri came to Liverpool in a £12.5m deal shortly after the World Cup finals. The Swiss brings him needed Premiership experience having played for Stoke City since 2015. A quality which will come in handy as he's the only newcomer we can say this for this year.

His exquisite bicycle kick against Manchester United in the pre-season friendly during the US tour will have done his popularity no harm at all among the Liverpool faithful.

Last in and by absolutely no means least Alisson Becker. Another Brazilian who arrived for a not insignificant fee of a reported £67m from Roma. This signing - in total contrast to that of his compatriot Fabinho, came after months of speculation.

The 25 year-old, who stands 1.93 m tall - or bloody highto use the technical term - is arguably the most sought-after signing from the fans' perspective. He represents a totally new goalkeeping proposition. Skilful, agile and he can catch! 

The Bad 

Failing to buy Nabil Fakir from Lyon. The deal reportedly fell through following apparent concerns over a past knee injury. The story according to a French acquaintance of mine was that Les Bleushead coach Didier Deschamps refused to sanction sending the player to Liverpool for a second opinion after his initial medical. Understandable of course considering the small matter of an imminent World Cup final.

Klopp has not bothered to seek a replacement for the Frenchman who had (rather embarrassingly) already filmed his welcome interview. This means that he's either playing a Virgin van Dijk-esque waiting game or, a Thomas Lemar-like "forget it" approach. Time will tell.

Is he a player Liverpool really need? Not from what I've seen. Would he have been a good addition to an already bulging midfield? Likely yes. However, the transfer window has now closed and the Reds don't have him. Next!

The Ugly

Nothing really uglyto speak of before the start of the season. There is one bit of business the Reds done which has baffled the hell out of me. This is the sale of goalkeeper Danny Ward to Leicester. Hello?! I just don't get it. 

The club went and bought Alisson for a not insignificant sum - who is now the new "No. 1" at the club. This leaves two hapless replacements in Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet. In my opinion, Ward represented a more than realistic choice to be the understudy to the Brazilian.

Having helped Huddersfield to promotion in the 2016/17 season, Klopp refused to continue Ward's loan spell with the Terriers, returned him to the U-23 squad and sold him at the next opportunity. With Alisson coming in, the 25 year-old had "...fallen further down the Anfield pecking order..." according to the Independent. Further down the pecking order? 

One can't blame him for leaving. Falling down the pecking order behind Mignolet and Karius must be a severe blow for anyone's confidence and thus he's been forced to vote with his feet.

So in all, there is reason to be cheerful. The club has brought in some quality players and without doubt, the squad is stronger than it was this time last year. An improvement on last season's fourth-place must be the expectation. Looking at Manchester United in (apparent) disarray, a transitional Chelsea, plus Tottenham's inertia in the transfer market, Liverpool have the best chance in years to lift the title. A firm challenge for the title is a must - beginning with a home win against West Ham tomorrow at Anfield. 

Game on!

Ben Green

 

Follow Ben on Twitter @MrBengreen

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