Liverpool supporters have been in high spirits in recent times after seeing their side reach the last-16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Jurgen Klopp’s men went into their encounter with Italian giants Napoli sat third in Group C, and needing a victory over Carlo Ancelotti’s group leaders to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stages. And the Reds did just that as a Mohamed Salah strike in the first half was enough to secure a 1-0 win for the Merseyside giants at Anfield, thus earning them a spot in the draw for the last-16 on Monday.
Thus, there have been many thrilled Liverpudlians up and down the country in recent times, plenty of whom are likely to be interested by recent comments from the BBC’s Chief Football writer Phil McNulty, who has stated that the £142 million investment made by Klopp on Alisson and Virgil van Dijk was ‘expensive business’, but ‘worth every penny’.
And given the duo have combined expertly to make Liverpool one of the best sides defensively in the country in recent times, as exemplified against Napoli on Tuesday night, McNulty is spot on to lavish praise on Liverpool for the business they conducted.
Ultimately, it was painfully obvious this time 12 months ago that Klopp needed to strengthen greatly at the back, as his side were hugely vulnerable against many a side in the Premier League, who were able to get-at the centre backs and then ask questions of the unconvincing Loris Karius.
However, van Dijk’s arrival in January of this year went some way to sorting those defensive woes out, what with the Netherlands international coming in and immediately commanding and leading by example in the heart of the back four – the Reds conceded just 13 times in 16 games following his arrival in the second half of last season.
Yet for all van Dijk’s fine work, Karius needed upgrading, as evidenced by his shambolic display against Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League back in May – and early indications suggest that Alisson is indeed a massive upgrade on the German shot-stopper.
The Brazil international has already earned Liverpool points and victories during the early phase of his time on Merseyside, as exemplified against Napoli in making an excellent save to deny Arkadiusz Milik in the final minute – if that had gone in, the Reds would be out of the Champions League.
And that’s why McNulty is spot on to heap praise on the duo, and indeed the club for breaking the bank for the players they simply had to get to challenge for major honours – it may have cost £142 million (as per McNulty), but the Reds are so much better from spending that money.
And given messrs Alisson and van Dijk are already beginning to pay back their enormous transfer fees, it’s clear that McNulty’s assessment that they are ‘worth every penny’ is becoming truer with every match they play.
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