Jurgen Klopp expressed satisfaction with the strides his revamped Liverpool squad has made as they strive to claim the top spot in the Premier League against Crystal Palace this Saturday.
Following a lacklustre performance in the previous season, Liverpool's midfield underwent a transformation, bidding farewell to key players like Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
The arrivals of Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch, and Wataru Endo injected a fresh impetus into a team that seemed to be on the decline.
A victory against Crystal Palace this Saturday would propel Liverpool to the summit of the Premier League, at least temporarily displacing Arsenal.
Klopp, speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, explained that while he hadn't meticulously planned the team's position in early December, he was content with their progress. He emphasised the formation of team spirit during challenging moments.
"I wanted to establish a foundation with the boys early in pre-season, and to become a real team, you have to overcome difficulties," Klopp remarked. "We faced challenges with red cards and being behind in games, and overcoming those hurdles definitely accelerated the process. I'm pleased with the development up to this point."
Acknowledging the need to replace key figures from the previous season, Klopp highlighted the addition of experienced world-class players to the new leadership group, contributing to a cohesive team dynamic.
While Klopp admitted that last season's struggles had cast doubts, he affirmed his confidence in the team's positive trajectory. He attributed the shift to more positive football to increased confidence, which, in turn, resulted from good performances and a solid pre-season.
Addressing concerns about Joel Matip's future, Klopp expressed confidence in the club's approach to handling the defender's serious knee injury. He anticipated that the club would exhibit class and support Matip, considering a potential contract extension. Klopp emphasised the need to make decisions collaboratively with Matip regarding his post-injury situation, acknowledging the deserving support for the 32-year-old defender.