Jurgen Klopp has stressed the importance of keeping Liverpool’s Champions League-winning team together if they are to emulate the “big teams of the past”.
While Klopp stopped shy of likening his team to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, he used the two treble-winning sides to underline the importance of maintaining key talent and chemistry within a squad.
The German coach, 52, made the point while explaining Liverpool’s lack of major summer signings. The Reds bought in just one senior player this summer, Adrian, who will act as back-up to first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Five things to know about Liverpool’s 2019 summer transfer window…
- Liverpool spent just £4.4 million this summer.
- Harvey Elliot and Sepp van den Berg will join the youth set-up.
- Only Norwich spent less money than Liverpool.
- No team signed fewer senior players than the Reds.
- Liverpool made a £24m profit from this window.
Speaking to the press ahead of Liverpool’s opener against Norwich, Klopp said: “Around 90% of our people are with us on the transfer policy and 10% maybe not, but they are on social media and they are constantly worried people.
“This team is a good age with space for improvement. If we had found the solution for problems we might have during the season we would have done it. It was not there for a reasonable price. Nobody should think we did not look. It is not that we are not negotiating like crazy in these times, but finding the right solution is more difficult the better the team gets. I really think it makes sense to keep this team together but we have to prove that.
“We have to make our decisions based on our expectations of what we think we can do this year. By the way, the history of Liverpool does not end this season. We will judge the season and see what we have to do. Maybe then it will be easier to find improvement.”
The most enduring, and important, feature of Liverpool’s line-up is their front three, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, all of whom have committed to new contracts within the last 18 months. The trio have spent two full seasons together now, over the course of which they have missed only 12 games through injury combined according to Transfermarkt.
Klopp added: “The big teams of the past – and I don’t say we are a big team now, that will be decided in a couple of years – they stay together for a number of years. They do not need a lot of changes.
“I am not comparing us with Barcelona of five, six or seven years ago but they stayed together. A new player came in and struggled and so it was the same players who played again. Man United had the class of ’92. How long did they stay together? They changed a few after [Eric] Cantona got older and brought in Van the Man [Ruud van Nistelrooy] or whoever. You do not change completely.
“We are a good team together in a very difficult league with a lot of competitors desperate to get the position we are in. Nobody knows how it will look exactly but Sunday (Community Shield v Man City) showed we will be fine and the rest is what we make of it.”
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“This season will be different”
Liverpool finished last season with the third-highest points total in Premier League history, but this was still not enough to secure their first Premier League title.
In a remarkable title race, the Reds finished second with 97 points as Manchester City won their second title in a row. Klopp believes that this was something of a freak and insists that people should not compare this season to any others.
He said: “For me, it looks like this season will be different because there was a big gap between the other teams and us and City. It looks like we will all be closer to each other than last season. If that is the case then you cannot get 97 or 98 points.
“We don’t know in this moment. The only thing we know is that nothing will happen for us in a positive direction if we don’t win our games. We have to start with that on Friday. Friday for us is deadline day because pre-season is over and now we have to perform as good as possible.
“A season has a story, and there are different chapters, but without a first word you cannot start. We start our story on Friday and there is no reason why it should not be a wonderful story.”
Liverpool open the season on Friday night against Norwich City. In only two of their last six meetings have the Reds failed to score at least five goals, but the Canaries are a totally different proposition under Daniel Farke. The former Borussia Dortmund youth coach oversaw a 2018/19 campaign in which Norwich won the Championship title while scoring the most goals in the division (93).