Two reliable figures made uncharacteristic errors against Fulham, but they are considered to have lifted Jurgen Klopp’s side to the next level
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Liverpool have taken a “quantum leap” since bringing Virgil van Dijk and Alisson onto their books, claims Graeme Souness.
Two record-breaking deals were required at Anfield in order to plug defensive leaks.
Van Dijk was snapped up from Southampton for £75 million ($99m), making him the most expensive defender on the planet, before Alisson briefly became the costliest goalkeeper when arriving from Roma for £65m ($86m).
Big money was invested in their obvious talent, but that show of faith has been richly rewarded with a Premier League-high collection of clean sheets in 2018-19.
No shut-out was secured on their most recent outing, as they combined to make uncharacteristic errors which allowed Ryan Babel to score in a battling 2-1 win at Fulham, but they have been models of consistency for the most part.
Souness believes they can be considered major contributors to an ongoing title challenge, with Dutch strength at the heart of the back four and Brazilian reflexes between the sticks making Liverpool a side nobody wants to face.
The former Reds player and manager told Sky Sports of the progress made on Merseyside in a relatively short space of time: “People will point out if they don’t win the league or Champions League that it’s another year without winning a trophy, but each year they have got better and better.
“They have made a quantum leap this year by signing Virgil van Dijk and Alisson.
“They both got it wrong for the Fulham goal, but I can’t remember another time that has happened. They have been fabulous all year. Liverpool are a serious team now.
“Nobody would want to play them and think they would have an easy ride and could boss them in any department. Great defensively, workaholics in midfield and three up front that can hurt you.”
One of those attacking sparks, Sadio Mane, was back among the goals once again for Liverpool at Craven Cottage.
The Senegalese forward has now found the target 11 times in his last 11 appearances, but it required a nerveless penalty from James Milner in order for Klopp’s side to take maximum points at Fulham and move back to the top of the table with seven games to play.