With Kolo Toure set to depart, Liverpool needed to bring in a steady veteran defender over the summer. A player who, if needed, could play every week but also a player who might not be called on for a month at a time depending on the form and fitness issues of the players ahead of him on the depth chart.
In the end, Jürgen Klopp picked Ragnar Klavan to fill that role, and on the early returns, it was an inspired choice. Klavan has fit in quickly and comfortably, and has played four games so far for his new club. And for his part, Klavan thinks the move to Liverpool is already paying off for him as a player.
“We have so much quality in front,” raved Liverpool’s Estonian centre half when asked about going in to practice every day and facing off against what is the Premier League’s highest scoring group of attackers this season. “But for me it is good to train against them every day—it helps my defending level.”
Klavan will get to put anything new he’s learned at Liverpool to use over the international break as Estonia take on Gibraltar and Greece in World Cup qualifying, where his country will be looking to rebound from a harsh 5-0 defeat at the hands of Bosnia and Herzegovinia in the opening round of fixtures last month.
Estonia won’t be favoured in a Group H that includes Belgium and Greece, though, and underwhelming results in October could all but end their qualifying campaign before it begins. For Liverpool, the immediate prospects seem rather more bullish, with the club solidly positioned in the top four after a strong start to the season.
“We have had a good start to the season, no doubt about it, but it’s going to be a long season,” noted Klavan, adding that fans and the players both have to avoid getting ahead of themselves. “I hope we take it one game at a time because every game is going to be important if you want to achieve something amazing.”