Sometimes it feels like the season will be starting very soon and yet so many Liverpool players haven’t even joined pre-season training. Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren will miss the Premier League opener against West Ham because their late summer, post-World Cup holidays will keep them from returning to Melwood until just a week ahead of kick-off.
Jürgen Klopp does have quite a few of his star players in the U.S. building their fitness and unity but the team is still a ways off from coalescing into a preferred XI.
Liverpool aren’t the only club dealing with World Cup fallout, trying to plan for the coming season with small squads, full of players not still on exotic beaches. A good handful of football clubs may even be worried over poor starts to the season due to lack of readiness.
“I want to have the best start ever but we all know something can happen and it is all questioned in a second,” Klopp said.
“I don’t want to prepare anyone for a bad start because I don’t want to have it but it is possible. I cannot ignore it.
“I am in the third season and each season we have a period where a few people questioned me or our progress and all that stuff and in the end it was okay. I am prepared for these moments.
“I don’t want to have them but I will not go nuts and think we have lost everything. We need to work with the different situations of the players.
“The new players will make us stronger 100% - starting, coming from the bench, whatever. But it will not happen in the first day.
“It is all about staying calm, looking at the situation, judging it right and then making the step. I am confident and we will be confident.”
Liverpool will be desperate to start the campaign off with three points on the board. A lot of money has been spent this summer and, after the triumphs of last season, expectations for 2018/19, with Naby Keita, Fabinho and Alisson on the case, are already sky high.
Of course, Klopp has every confidence in his team but he knows that Liverpool’s place in the table is also affected by the other really good teams in the league, teams who will be hoping for their own triumph at the end of the season.
“We expect more from ourselves,” said Klopp.
“We will go again for the championship and each kind of cup but that does not mean I can sit here and we will get it. We have the highest ambitions, 100%.
“Other teams, of course, will do transfer business as well. They will not be weaker than last year. City brought in Mahrez. I did not hear that they lost one player so far. So it means the quality of last year plus Mahrez. That’s a nice plan as well.
“United will go for it too and that’s completely normal.”