Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has ruled out further new faces arriving at Anfield while insisting that it will take time for Darwin Nunez to adapt to English football.
Klopp is content with the squad he has shaped this summer, with Nunez arriving for £85 million from Benfica – a club-record fee – adding to further recruits in Calvin Ramsay for £6.5m from Aberdeen and Fabio Carvalho from Fulham for an undisclosed fee.
At the end of May, Liverpool were denied a seventh European crown as Real Madrid became kings of the continent once again thanks to Vinicius Junior’s strike in a Champions League showpiece marred by chaos outside the Stade de France.
It meant Liverpool finished the season with just four defeats across 63 matches in all competitions to fall agonisingly short of an unprecedented quadruple – and Klopp sees no reason to bolster his ranks further despite the notable sale of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich.
Klopp told Sky Sports: “Unless we have injuries or player sales no, we have our squad. Hopefully, there won’t be any so Liverpool supporters can focus on other things.”
When pressed on potential outgoings, Klopp added: “I don’t talk about these things you know that. Look at the results, not the process – don’t forget!”
Klopp on transfer business at rivals…
Reflecting on the business of his rivals, an observant Klopp said: “I cannot say the others have so far made a massive mistake in the transfer market.
“It was clear before that Tottenham were going in the right direction last season with their signings. Man City haven’t just brought in players, they’ve given two to Arsenal and one to Chelsea.
“We’re in a similar situation where you can’t always go with the same team. You need fresh blood and fresh legs. City are in a similar situation to us and we did it in a similar way. In the end, they will all have fantastic football players like we will. It’s the question of who makes the most of it.
“Everybody has the same chance. We will try to give it out all. The main target in this league first and foremost always is to qualify for the Champions League which is really difficult enough already.
Unless we have injuries or player sales no, we have our squad.
“When you reach that, and then there’s still time to compete for the title, you do that. When you’ve qualified for it four, five years in a row people may not appreciate that anymore but it will be a massive fight for the Champions League places.
“Everyone wants to win the Premier League but I have no idea who will make the race. We’re looking to play the best possible season for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Klopp is entering his seventh full campaign as Liverpool manager, and in that time the club have returned to competing regularly for the Premier League title, albeit only one has been won behind closed doors.
“The optical change is obvious,” Klopp said when reflecting on the six previous full seasons he has overseen matters on the red half of Merseyside.
“A lot has happened in between then and now but the football ideas haven’t changed. Thankfully, we’ve been able to develop it but the basics are always the same.
“Without the intensity and the counter-pressing that we want to put in and the football we play, it’s not possible, but on top of all of that, we’ve developed a lot.
“With the ball, we’ve become much better over the years and we’ve become a lot more consistent. The consistency comes from pre-season so we have to reach a physical level where you can pick performances from because we don’t have time to train.
“The best training sessions we have during the season are the games, but not the whole squad plays every three days.
“These are the challenges we face constantly. For us, it’s business as usual but it’s how the players take it. So far, it looks like the boys are very open, want to listen, and are ready to develop and improve.
“Up until now, I’ve got nothing to moan about.”
Klopp recalls with a grin how the intensity of pre-season has changed since his playing days, when the rigours of aerobic drills went through the roof and where work with the ball was an after-thought – “we trained far too much” he admits – and he hasn’t been paying too much attention to the results of this summer’s schedule.
Liverpool face Manchester City in the Community Shield next Saturday before beginning their Premier League campaign against Fulham at Craven Cottage on August 6. Being ready for the competitive curtain-raiser is what matters to the German.
“The teams I played for, we trained too much. It was unbelievable!” he continued. “We were vomiting after sessions. Sports science knew it already but the coaches didn’t listen. It was a case of more is better and more is more.
“We were running like we were preparing for a marathon at the Olympic Games! It wasn’t really helpful so I’d have enjoyed the pre-season we have nowadays a lot more.
“From a coaching point of view, the pre-season we had last year which was around four-and-a-half weeks, I’d say that was the minimum you should have. You rarely get this amount of time, and this year we will have had three weeks together. Let’s see how we deal with that.”
Klopp has delivered a golden period in Liverpool’s history and believes his team can be successful once more next season. Despite the Champions League final loss, he has fond memories of how last season ended, and he observed that his group are hungry for more trophies.
“It ended how we liked it – it ended with a parade,” he stresses. “We would’ve loved to celebrate even more. If there’s anything good about losing is that there’s always the next day.
“If you’re smart enough, you can pick up information about your defeat in order to do better and that’s the plan. There was obvious disappointment in losing but I was over it pretty quickly.
“The parade helped me massively and let’s try it again. Nothing would be different had we won the league or the Champions League. I’d still be sat here wearing the same shirt and the same shorts. We’ll try to use it and analyse it in the right way.”
Klopp: We need time to get used to Nunez
Klopp toasted a “perfect night” as Darwin Nunez hit four goals in Liverpool’s 5-0 win at RB Leipzig in this past week – and the Reds boss was encouraged by his second-half outing at the Red Bull Arena.
“We need time to get used to each other which is absolutely fine,” says Klopp. “It makes no sense to think he’d be at his absolute best after just thee days of training.
“The group we have is the best I’ve had in terms of helping those from the outside coming in to settle. A striker of his skillset will need time as it’s different to what we had before.
“We played in a different way to Benfica, so for me both sides have to adapt [the player and the existing players]. He didn’t score in his first two games, in 50-odd minutes or whatever, and we immediately faced discussions.
“That’s a crazy world out there! He then scores four goals in a game, and we’re discussing him the other way around.
“He’s a really nice guy, loves being here, our Spanish community players help him a lot and is learning English already, working hard to understand the basics – it’s all going in the right direction.”
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Liverpool begin the 2022/23 Premier League campaign with a lunchtime trip to newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday August 6.
It will be the fourth season in a row in which Liverpool have started a new campaign against a Premier League newcomer.
But after then facing Crystal Palace, Jurgen Klopp’s side will take on Man Utd at Old Trafford on August 22, with both those games live on Sky Sports.
September will feature away trips to both Everton and Chelsea in September and Liverpool will also face back-to-back clashes against Arsenal and champions Man City on October 8 and 15 respectively.
Liverpool’s final game before the season stops temporarily for the winter World Cup will be against Southampton at Anfield on November 12 before returning to action at Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
The Reds then host arch-rivals United on March 4, before tricky-looking clashes in consecutive weekends at City (April 1) and against Arsenal at Anfield (April 8), before finishing the season at Southampton.