One of Liverpool’s Istanbul heroes Luis García spoke exclusively to 5times’ Carl Clemente about Liverpool’s start to the 2018/19 campaign. García signed for Liverpool in 2004 and immediately hit it off with the Anfield faithful and played a paramount role in The Reds last European Cup success in 2005. The Spaniard scored key goals against Juventus and Chelsea, as well as netting three over two legs against Bayer Leverkusen.
García’s love affair with The Reds has only got stronger since he returned to La Liga in 2007 and he believes Klopp’s team have shown consistency in their first four opening fixtures.
“Consistency is the key to success, something that Liverpool have lacked over the last few years. It doesn’t matter how you win games, whether it’s 1-0 or 5-0, it’s the three points that you need.”
Liverpool haven’t won their first four League games of a season since 1990/91, when Kenny Dalglish’s side won their opening eight first division games and García is delighted how Liverpool have started this season.
“The team have had a couple of tricky away games at grounds, where maybe a year ago, they wouldn’t have come away with all the three points. This shows improvement and again consistency. After four games into the season Liverpool are deserving leaders.”
Although Liverpool have a 100% record going into the current international break, García agreed with Klopp’s recent comments that his players aren’t at their best yet and need to improve.
“I totally agree with Klopp, footballers improve their game as the season progresses. Many players were involved in the World Cup and are still building up their fitness levels and many of them haven’t had a full preseason to prepare. Moreover, new players need time to adjust and it’s exciting for me after a perfect start to the new campaign that the players will get even better!”
Another aspect of Klopp’s squad that has also impressed García so far this season is the strength of the substitute’s bench.
“A Strong bench is something that Liverpool have lacked over the last few seasons. Klopp now has the luxury of being able to change a player with another player of the same quality which is a great advantage to have, especially when injuries and suspensions occur.”
García joined Rafael Benítez’s Liverpool in the summer of 2004 along with fellow countryman Xabi Alonso and immediately settled into life in the Premier League. Within a year García had a European Cup medal to show for his efforts after playing 44 games and scoring 13 goals during his debut season with The Reds.
Klopp boosted his squad by making four summer signings this July and García expressed his joy towards the club’s new recruits and is looking forward to seeing more of them as the season progresses.
“I’ve been very impressed with Naby Keïta’s start to his Liverpool career. He’s composed, has high energy levels and is excellent on the ball. He’ll be a massive player for Liverpool this season and hopefully many to come.”
“Although, we are yet to see much of Fabinho and Shaqiri, after the international break – games will come twice a week and I’m sure we’ll start to see more of them.”
With only one goal conceded so far this season and with the addition of Alisson Becker, García believes that Liverpool have finally put to bed their defensive glitches of previous seasons.
“The defence is looking solid and having a world class goalkeeper behind them, will no doubt help the back line physiologically. Furthermore, Alisson is good with his feet and will learn to use this attribute to the team’s advantage and will quickly forget his mistake at Leicester.”
“In addition, the two full-backs are now established and the new centre-back pairing of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk is strengthening game by game.”
Still only twenty-one, Gomez is now in his fourth season at Liverpool, since moving from Charlton in 2015 and is currently flourishing alongside Virgil. García is a big fan of the young centre-back.”
“Joe is back playing in his natural position and has improved a lot since his last run of games in the side. He’s still young and will go on to learn a lot more; he seems very composed, quick, strong and confident on the ball. He has all the attributes to become a world-class defender and the partnership he is forming with Virgil has been outstanding.”
García, like every Liverpool fan, dreams of the Reds winning Silverware and especially the Premier League title for the first time. Finally, García touched on Liverpool’s title chances.
“The Premier League is extremely difficult to win and again, in my view, the key to success is consistency. Klopp has strengthened his squad in the correct areas, which has put Liverpool in a stronger position to win the League for a long time. Obviously, Man City are the ones to catch, but I don’t think it will just be a two horse race. Chelsea and Arsenal will be up there as well. We just have to take one game at a time and keep digging out victories.”