Loris Karius Given Rousing Reception By Liverpool Fans On Anfield Return

Jurgen Klopp celebrates with Curtis Jones

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Liverpool finished 25 points adrift of champions Manchester City last season, but they have enjoyed a positive pre-season and will open the new campaign in buoyant mood at home to West Ham on Sunday.

Liverpool had to make the record-breaking signing of Alisson, says Jamie Carragher, as sticking with Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet would have led to "no belief" in a title challenge.

The difference this season is that the Merseysiders have greater strength in depth with Fabinho and Naby Keita added increased options in midfield.

The £13m signing from Stoke is another Anfield star to catch the supporters' imagination across their pre-season fixtures, his overhead kick against Manchester United going a long way to firing the Swiss star into his new fans' affections.

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Carragher is among those feeling confident, with additions suggesting that Liverpool will be in the mix for the Premier League crown as positive foundations from 2017-18 are built upon.

Although he was reportedly left disappointed by Jurgen Klopp's decision to move for Alisson, he's still expected to remain as part of the first team picture with the Reds for the season ahead where he's expected to be their second choice stopper.

His defence looks strong with Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan to pick from at centre-back, while he has selection issues in the full-back roles with Andrew Robertson, Nathaniel Clyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez all pushing for starts. Alisson arrives from Roma where he faced the Reds in the Champions League semi-final last season. "It is a brilliantly run club in terms of getting money for players and also in the transfer market".

The Champions League finalists will kick off as second favourites behind Manchester City, and they're seen as the Citizens' main rivals for a reason, as they dished out one of only two City defeats of the Premier League season previous year.

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