When asked how he was feeling looking forward to the season, Jürgen Klopp told those in attendance at his first press conference of the season that, like everyone else, “we never know what will happen. Big expectations, dreams, all this kind of stuff. From now on we can be a bit more influential, because everything else is nice and important what we did in the last few weeks but the real test is coming now.”
The Liverpool manager acknowledges, though, that rivals have strengthened.
And [Manchester] United... and Newcastle... that’s how it is. It’s always like this. The season has finished, you make an analysis, or not, and then it’s already clear. So, the next one will be more difficult. That’s how it is. Yes, I think all the teams improved pretty much. Everybody tries to improve in the transfer market, using the experience from last season and these kind of things. The only thing we have to think about is our own stuff and that’s what is necessary anyway. If the other teams wouldn’t do anything better than last year, for example and it was difficult enough, then we have to improve anyway and that’s what we try; little tweaks. Building on the stuff we know [that] we can do and getting there [with] a bit more variety and stuff like this. Being more dominant in moments with and without the ball.
So, a lot of football stuff we were thinking about. We tried to help the boys to do that [so] it becomes natural, let me say it like this, with training sessions. I enjoyed the pre-season, [for the] most part of it, so I am positive but that’s a problem [as] it’s a bit my nature, so we will see.
The new signings at Liverpool are cause for excitement, however:
[Fábio Carvalho is a] top player. I love it. Massive talent. Really good kid and really happy to have him, so very important for us because we count on this age group as well. We don’t wait now until they are 22, 23 or whatever and use them. No, no, no. He is ready like Harvey is ready in the similar age group. That’s really cool. We all need luck in life as well with injury and stuff like this, but without that he will be a really important player for us.
Darwin [Núñez] is ready. Does that mean he has to start? I don’t know. It’s not about that. We obviously have still different options and that’s what we’ll use, and Darwin needs time to get used to a lot of things but he is already a real help. It went really quick, to be honest, from the first game where I thought, ‘What are we doing with him?’ – not because of him but because of the passes we played for him. It was a proper pre-season training session for him, the first game, when we gave him a lot of runs to do. But now obviously it’s completely settled.
He said it himself, he was very nervous in the beginning; from my point of view I sympathise with that a lot and it’s normal, completely normal. You could see that but that settled pretty quickly because the team, all the players, not only the Spanish-speaking, took him under their wings. That was very helpful, so he feels very, very home after a short period. He had already an impact, he scored in the first final we could play, so that’s fine. And the work will not stop here. He is in the best possible place.
Klopp was not content to dwell on only shiny, new signings, speaking too on Diogo Jota’s potential, though the striker is currently working his way back from injury.
I don’t have him back in my squad but I will be very excited when I have him back in my squad. I had breakfast with him this morning, sometimes it must be enough. Top, top, top recommitment to the club. He’s not even close to his limit, so much more to come. He’s a very smart person and smart player, [he] delivered already [and] can improve a lot. Really excited about that.
It’s really good news for the club. It’s good news for him as well because we are a pretty good club but it’s really a win-win situation. I can’t wait to work with him again, so it was like this pre-season [we] didn’t have him too often, or not at all. It was one session actually, but it’s good having him around because he’s quite a character, [he’s] really early in his life already [and] a really responsible person. He knows what to do to be successful in different areas. It’s good to have him.
All in all, the boss is full of excitement — as we all should be.