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Klopp's trust in kop kids will be tested

Souness has Liverpool as favourites to hold on to their title but failure to buy may cost them

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Jurgen Klopp is sticking with the same formula

Jurgen Klopp is sticking with the same formula

PA

Jurgen Klopp is sticking with the same formula

As anyone involved in the game knows, winning a league is one thing, retaining that league title is a lot harder to achieve.

It's a point Graeme Souness understands as he's one of the survivors from the last Liverpool squad to successfully defend their crown in 1983/84.

He even recalls the part played by former Ireland international Michael Robinson, who died in April at the age of 61, when he came in for that season, and the point that manager Joe Fagan was making in adding a player to a title-winning squad.

Even though Fagan already possessed two of the finest strikers in Europe, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish, Robinson was brought in to put pressure on that pair as well as offering another ingredient to the already-winning formula, and it worked as Liverpool won back-to-back titles.

"He played his part and he gave us something different from Rushie and Kenny," Souness recalls, speaking warmly of Robinson who was "my big mate".

The point is relevant this week because Souness feels that Fagan's decision over the summer of '83 to further strengthen an already powerful side has to be repeated by Jurgen Klopp.

"The best time to buy players is when you are at the top," Souness says.

"Because those players don't have to be an immediate success. The pressure is not all on them to come in and be the difference.

"Man United in the last five years have been that, they went to buy players who had to be an instant hit, expectation levels were on them and they've not lived up to it, the vast majority, and that's impacted on what they have achieved.

"I am a wee bit disappointed with Liverpool on that.

"If you look at Man United in the two decades they were dominant, Fergie did that, buy when you are strong.

"He [Klopp] has the best back five out there. But midfield could do with freshening up, and back-up for the front three, someone who can push them along, there's nothing like competition for places to get that extra yard out of players."

Souness feels it's not parsimony on Liverpool's part which has led them to be so inactive in the transfer market, rather the faith that Jurgen Klopp has in a crop of home-grown young talent.

But Souness fears that a combination of injuries and a fresh challenge from Manchester City and Manchester United, makes that a gamble.

"I think there must be a very obvious reason why they are not buying players," he says.

"It's because Jurgen must feel the youngsters coming through are ready to step up - and that is really encouraging.

"You have to say, Liverpool were very lucky with injuries last year. It might be the opposite this year or they might continue with that luck.

"Injuries to big players would damage any team. If you are losing your star players, that affects you, whether you are Liverpool, City, United or Chelsea."

Souness was impressed with the impact that Bruno Fernandes made mid-season last term and has high hopes for another Old Trafford signing, Donny van de Beek.

"No doubt about it, Man United will be stronger. I like Fernandes, I like Donny van de Beek and I don't think they will be finished [buying players], I think they'll go again and buy more people before the window's finished.

"I don't see them coming close enough to win the title this year unless they buy two or three more players between now and when the window closes.

"Midfield will be better. Van de Beek will add something to their midfield.

"At the back, I still have reservations about some of them, and the goalkeeping situation."

"The big question is Chelsea because when you've spent a load of money like Frank Lampard has, the pressure starts on him for the very first time this season.

"Man City have to be more consistent and I expect them to be. I also don't see them [Liverpool] running away with it again, but I still see them as favourites to retain it.

"But it won't be easy. They're still favourites, just, with a bigger challenge coming from the other contenders."

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