The Reds legend Jamie Carragher believes the Merseyside outfit are among the favourites to challenge Pep Guardiola’s side for the title this season. Liverpool are unbeaten in the league so far and sit level on points with City and Chelsea at the top of the table.
Klopp strengthened well during the summer, splashing out £175m to bring in four fresh faces. But despite speculation surrounding a move for Nabil Fekir, a move broke down due to concerns over his long-term fitness.
Philippe Coutinho provided the creative spark in Liverpool’s midfield for the first half of last season but the Brazilian finalised a mega-money move to Barcelona in January. And Carragher believes a replacement is the only piece missing in Klopp’s title-chasing jigsaw.
“We need a bit more quality in midfield, I think,” he told This is Anfield. That’s all. Maybe he’ll revisit that in January. I just look at that midfield and I think we’re missing that Coutinho type of player.
“Obviously, we went in for Fekir, so we’re obviously looking for someone like that. We’re trying to compete with City, and I look and they’ve got (Kevin) De Bruyne and (David) Silva in there. I don’t think we’ve got that sort of player.
“We’ve got different types of players and we don’t play the same as them.But, now and again at Anfield, you’re going to need someone to open up teams and do something a little bit clever. That’s my only worry with this squad, but besides that, I think this could be Liverpool’s greatest squad for the last 30 years.”
Winger Xherdan Shaqiri liverpooolhas only made two starts for the Reds since joining for a cut-price fee from relegated Stoke in the summer. But the Swiss star has shown promise, particularly in his first Premier League start in which he played a major role in two of Liverpool’s three first-half goals.
That game, Shaqiri took up an unusual role as the most advanced player of a three-man midfield and effectively played as a No 10 – a position he played in several times in pre-season.
That’s with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – who contributed 64 goals last term – ahead of him in the pecking order in his usual positions out wide.
Despite Shaqiri’s display against Southampton, he was taken off at half-time with Klopp not satisfied with his team’s defensive organisation while playing with Shaqiri in a new role.
But he hinted that Liverpool could try it out again later in the season, saying: “Offensively it was a good idea. But we have to work on that more often. But he was good and I liked it.”
And the 27-year-old has suggested he too would like to try out operating as a play-maker again, despite having played on the right flank the Carabao Cup clash in Chelsea.
“It is certainly different if you as a player have such freedom [as a No.10],” Shaqiri told Swiss publication Blick.
“The trainer [manager] gives me the freedom and I try to use it so that I can help the team as much as possible with decisive passes or with shots.
“Against Portugal I almost had to play as right-back. I play where the coach sets me up.
“But sure, on the side you have more defensive work than in the middle.
“I know that from Bayern Munich. There I also played as a full-back.”
Much was made of a heated exchange between Klopp and summer signing Shaqiri on the pitch after Liverpool’s Carabao Cup exit to Chelsea last month.
But Klopp explained that his frustration towards Shaqiri was over a late wasted free-kick rather than his general performance.
And ex-Bayern Munich and Inter Milan attacker Shaqiri insists he gets on well with his manager at Anfield.
“I have a very good relationship with [Klopp],” said Shaqiri.
“It is a lot of fun to work [with him]. We did not talk much about the League of Nations.
“I am happy. I think I’m relatively close to the first 11. Very close.”