Jurgen Klopp’s transfers could tilt the title Liverpool’s way this season, says former Reds winger Vladimir Smicer
- Smicer won the Champions League in his final season at Anfield
- Hails Klopp’s defensive signings despite huge transfer fees
Uefa Champions League winning former Liverpool winger Vladimir Smicer believes Jurgen Klopp’s transfer dealings have been the key to club’s fine start to the Premier League season and may be enough to launch a long-overdue title tilt.
The Czech, who was in Hong Kong as part of his ambassadorial duties with Liverpool, said not losing any of their star players, as they have done ahead of previous seasons, had helped the team’s unbeaten start in the league.
“We kept our best players after last season and brought in four really great players to strengthen the team even more,” Smicer said. “In the transfer market, (Klopp) is doing so well.
“Virgil Van Dijk and Allison Becker are playing so well for us. It’s a lot of money but so far we must be happy with this investment as both are playing exceptionally well for us,” he added.
Watch: 13 Questions with Vladimir Smicer
In pre-season, Liverpool spent a combined £177 million (US$229.8 million) on bringing in Naby Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and broke the world record fee for a goalkeeper when they paid a reported £67 million for Brazil stopper Becker. They also paid £75 million for Netherlands captain Van Dijk at the beginning of 2018.
Smicer, who revealed he would be interested in moving back into football management after a short spell in charge of the Czech national team, said he thinks Liverpool’s greater strength in depth this term but could be enough to see them topple Manchester City, who are also unbeaten in the league and are heavy favourites to win back-to-back championships.
“The gap between Liverpool and Manchester City was big last year, so to overcome this gap you must be really strong and consistent and so far they’re doing so well.”
“We can play better. we still feel this team can produce a little bit more, which gives me the confidence that this season we can really compete against City and that at the end we can win the league.”
Klopp’s side travel to Emirates Stadium later on Saturday hoping to maintain their unbeaten start against Unai Emery’s Arsenal, who currently sit fourth in the table.
“Arsenal have surprised me. I didn’t expect them to do that well in the Premier League but they seem to be playing really well,” Smicer said. “But lately Liverpool have played really well.
“If you want to win the title, you need to keep pace with City. It’s tough but our players are really set up in their heads. They want to win the league.
“I think because Liverpool played so well last season and the beat Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, they know they can win the league, so they are confident enough to go at Arsenal without being afraid,” Smicer added.
Manchester City face Southampton at home on Sunday.