Liverpool’s fringe players must ‘respect the situation’ and fight for their place, says Jürgen Klopp

Klopp's squad has quality options in several positions and does not expect to keep all of his players happy

Mark Critchley
Saturday 18 August 2018 09:12
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Liverpool 2018/19 Premier League profile

Jürgen Klopp has told Liverpool’s fringe players that they must “respect the situation” and fight for their place in his starting line-up, admitting it may be difficult to keep his squad happy this season.

Liverpool added some much-needed depth during the summer, with approximately £170m spent on four new players – goalkeeper Alisson, midfielders Fabinho and Naby Keita plus the versatile Xherdan Shaqiri.

The result is a squad with quality options in several positions. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Nathaniel Clyne will vie for the right-back slot. Jordan Henderson, Liverpool’s captain, has a rival in the form of Fabinho. Joel Matip must push past either Virgil van Dijk or Dejan Lovren in defence.

Ragnar Klavan, meanwhile, left Anfield on Friday in search of regular playing time. Klopp's fifth-choice centre-half moved to Italy to join Serie A's Calgiari in a £2m deal.

It is conceivable others could follow in January if unhappy with their number of minutes, but Klopp has said those players who find themselves outside his first-choice line-up must not grumble.

“I cannot make people happy. I never could,” Klopp said on Friday, at his pre-match press conference before Monday’s trip to Crystal Palace.

“Whatever happens on August 31 – I think that is the last window, although maybe Russia and China are open – there will be a specific point where it is clear that is the squad for the next four months until January.

“Who cannot be happy in these four months being part of the squad at Liverpool, I cannot help.”

Jurgen Klopp complimentary about Naby Keita after Liverpool's 4-0 win over West Ham

Klopp has been known to rotate in the past and is likely to again this year, especially in the domestic cup competitions. On Friday, he assured that those fringe players who train consistently well will have their chance.

“What I can do is everyone who trains on his highest level – because the decision has already been made that they are good enough to play for Liverpool – has a big chance to be an important part of the team, to stay in the team and all these things. That makes us happy.

Keita is one of Klopp's new arrivals

“There are more difficult things in life than not being in a match squad for a day, for a Sunday or Saturday, there are much more difficult problems in the world. I see it like that and you always have a chance to change the situation when you are part of the squad.

“It is not about my decision. I made the last decision – yes or no – but before that there are plenty of things that the players are responsible for. That is not a problem.”

Klopp added: “The ideal size of the squad is 11 and no one injured. Then they are all happy – a little bit exhausted but all happy. If you have 12 then you already have one who thinks: ‘Why am I out?’ That is how it is.

“Everything will be fine, but if someone has a problem with it he will have a problem with me because he does not respect the situation.”

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