Without their star attackers and looking shaky at the back. That about sums up Liverpool’s pre-season to date, and with the Community Shield set for Sunday against Manchester City, there isn’t much time left for Jürgen Klopp to sort things out.
“I don’t want to find excuses before we play them but we had a completely different pre-season,” Klopp noted at his press conference for the Community Shield today when asked about facing City so early in a game that, for some at least, matters.
Different, in this case, means poor. At least compared to City, who had three wins and a penalty shootout loss on their Asian tour with all their important players bar Sergio Aguero back early. Still, Klopp insists what he’s seen in training has been positive.
“We played the pre-season without six players so I cannot sit here and say ‘that must be the statement for us,’” the Liverpool manager continued. “That would be completely mad. We [just] have to be as good as possible that day, we cannot change it.
“I cannot lie and say ‘it’s no problem making a pre-season without six players.’ If you have to do it, you have to do it. You have to travel, play in America, difficult circumstances. That’s how it is. But did we have the best pre-season of our lives?
“I cannot say that. You see that in the results. But the sessions were good, really good. The games then, from a freshness point of view, came in the wrong moment. The only problem is we do all the games in public and everybody sees.”
What has been seen, those games, hasn’t been encouraging. But this was the Premier League’s best defensive side last season. And all the players bar Sadio Mané are now back training. Whatever the result against City, it’s not all doom and gloom.
“We’ll try to be as ready as possible, that’s what I can say,” Klopp added. “If we win it, good, but does it have an influence on the season? I don’t think so. And if we lose it has it an influence on the season? It’s not allowed.”