While all of his established stars are tied to long-term contracts and many of them are either in or approaching their peak years, he considers this to be just the beginning of the journey for the club he has already transformed into domestic and European title contenders.
Having been vindicated by his decision to break transfer records in bringing Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker to Anfield across successive windows, Klopp thinks it is time to now trust his squad as he looks to push further forward.
“I don’t want to talk exactly what we will do, but I don’t think this is a team at the moment where we have to spend the big money, or whatever,” he said at Melwood on Friday. “The best way to do it is bring together a group of players, try to develop them altogether and then stay together for a while. And that was maybe the main problem of Liverpool for the last decade. When they had a good team after a season they went all over the world. That will not happen this year for sure.”
Klopp’s position might surprise some observers who conclude the only missing ingredient now is a creative midfielder. He had tried to sign Nabil Fekir last June only to see that move fall through and has since not made any further approaches for other players who fill the same role.
Yet the deal for Fekir was based on the knowledge that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be out injured for most of this season. Klopp expects him to be available after the international break – ahead of original expectation. Meanwhile, he still believes in the ability of Adam Lallana, who was excellent in Liverpool’s most recent league victory over Burnley. He also has Naby Keita, who has been the only real disappointment amongst the most recent recruits – though Klopp waited so long for him, you’d imagine he’ll be patient.
Klopp described Liverpool’s potential as “massive” and he sees it as his job to make his players realise how good they could be, given the respect shown towards them by their rivals.
“I think the steps are really obvious but it is still about a natural confidence,” he continued. “We have to start looking at ourselves how other teams see us. When you think about how Bayern [Munich] faced us here – I saw Bayern playing a lot in the last years but I never saw them being that defensive-orientated. When Manchester City came here, it was similar. Wow! They had a lot of respect for us but I am not sure we always have the same amount of respect for ourselves.”
Klopp was asked whether he senses Liverpool are respected by other clubs in the country, especially those who have revelled whenever Liverpool have stumbled this season.
“How the people in England see us I don’t know,” he admitted. “It is better everybody else says you look good rather than you running around saying, ‘I look really good.’ It is still the same information but different! It is a good sign of character, but it is normal that we have to get used to our potential.
“We have so many different groups of supporters in England why should they think of us so positively? I think if you are part of Everton you vomit in the morning when you think, ‘oh Liverpool they are great.’ Why should other people like us? That is football. So long as they don’t hate us because that is a bit too much. Then it’s all ok.”
Klopp confirmed he will be without Jordan Henderson for Sunday’s trip to Fulham because of the ankle injury sustained in Munich. Henderson will now miss England’s European Championship qualifiers with Czech Republic and Montenegro. Like Oxlade-Chamberlain and, indeed, Joe Gomez, Klopp expects Henderson to return to action with Liverpool by the end of the month.
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