This morning Jürgen Klopp spoke to this press ahead this weekend’s preseason double header, wherein he ruminates on the current goings-on at Liverpool FC.
And it’s preseason queries straight out of the gate.
“My expectations on pre-season is really high,” said the manager. “I want to do it perfect.”
“The first two weeks were really good. We came back, trained here and now we have to fight back. We have two games. This is how pre-season is. We created this situation in our planning, now we have to go through with it.”
But fitness and training aren’t the only spotlight topics of preseason. There is also the ins and outs, the transfers. When does Klopp see the club’s transfer business ending?
“The final word is August 31st,” he said. “Until then you have to be ready to do something on the selling side or the buying side.
“But I’m fine. The squad is good. But the centre-half situation, we have two, three. Joel Matip is okay. We hope he can play one game at the weekend.
“We will see what happens.”
And then, as if to clarify any confusion over stalled talks or below-par bids from other clubs, Klopp adds, “If somebody wants a player then they have to pay because we only have good players. Not as a present.”
Liverpool will not be held over a barrel. And if the club is to sell a player such as Christian Benteke, then the money has got to be right.
“Christian has already said maybe it makes sense to go to another club. Christian is still a great striker. We have a few more strikers and I think it makes more sense to give them match time.
“But if there are clubs that want a real striker than they have to make real offers. Otherwise, we will find solutions. A few clubs try to gamble. We are not part of this, we are serious.”
We are serious.
On the injury front, Lucas and Joe Gomez are still unavailable. But, Marko Grujic and Joel Matip are ready for minutes, with Grujic getting the all clear from the doctor and Matip with three days training under his belt already.
As for Mamadou Sakho’s availability, Klopp says, “There is not a lot to say. We have talked. Mama is in rehab training.”
Surely, with cover needed in defense, and the passion of the two men for the game, Klopp and Sakho will sort through their scuffle quickly and be done with it. Because the dawn of the new season arrives soon. And a trip to Arsenal looms.
Has the manager made his picks yet for the starting eleven?
“It’s football, anything can happen in one week.
“A few players have five and a half weeks preseason without injury, that means they are in a better position.”
The onus is on the players to show their ability and understanding this weekend as the club take on Barcelona and Mainz. It’s about fitness and all that, if you like. But, the reality his, here we are at the threshold of real Premier League action, with real points at stake, and it’s time for the players to push harder and make themselves clear favorites for a spot on the Emirates’ pitch.
“It’s nice to think about Barcelona and coming home to Mainz,” Klopp said. “But, now it’s work. We created this intense situation. We have to be ready.”
And finally, about his former club, his managerial alma mater, the manager has nothing but love and appreciation, but with the business of football at hand, his return will be without too much fanfare.
“I love Mainz,” said the German football mastermind. “It was a special time. We learned everything, especially myself, there.
“It’s a nice story but it’s for other moments to think back. It’s not this moment to have daydreams.”
No, this moment is for focus and massive helpings of delicious reality. And, also, for uncontrolled anxiety over fresh player injuries. Grab your lucky charms, folks.