Andy Robertson spoke of the current Liverpool team being like a ‘family’. His comments sum up the difficult task awaiting Jurgen Klopp.
Speaking of defending Sadio Mane against Flamengo, Robertson highlighted the togetherness of the squad.
“We’re a family and if one of them is getting targeted then we will all back them up,” he told the Daily Mail. “We are like brothers. If one of them is getting targeted or picked on it is up to the rest of us to protect him. That’s what I try to do.”
No one would doubt that togetherness. There’s a reason the club opted to keep the exact same group together over the summer, after all. This current crop of Liverpool stars blend well together, get on famously, and generate a wonderful mentality.
So how on earth does Klopp replace them? Because he has to – he doesn’t have a choice.
These players will age and new ones must come in. Klopp has to do that in a way that keeps the mentality going – not easy when you’re breaking up a ‘family’.
But do it, he must. Bit by bit, new stars have to enter this team, forcing out the friends (or ‘brothers’) of the new player’s new teammates.
So Liverpool have to find players good enough but also ones that everyone else will happily include in what Robertson calls the family. Because that kind of camaraderie isn’t something the team will want to lose. It’s too valuable and unquestionably a huge part of this team’s success.
He managed it before, of course. Klopp built this squad by signing the right players, much like £10m Robertson. But that was replacing a squad that simply didn’t work, taking out players from a past regime.
Next time, though, it won’t be so easy.