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Jurgen Klopp Liverpool manager

Discussion in 'General LFC Discussion' started by Beanokelly, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. Ron1892

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    Mar 27, 2009
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    Neil Jones done a three part interview with Klopp.



    In Part One of Goal's exclusive, in-depth interview, the Reds boss talks about Kiev, transfers and why alcohol and smartphones don't mix

    Jurgen Klopp pulls back the curtain and smiles.

    “Ah, another interview! Perfect!”

    We are seated in a side room at the Hilton Hotel in Short Hills, New Jersey. Liverpool’s arrival here the previous evening had been delayed by eight hours due to a technical issue with their plane. Klopp’s players had entertained themselves by playing football on the runway of Charlotte Douglas Airport, eventually getting to their beds around 2:00am. Not ideal with a game against Manchester City to come later in the day. Naby Keita, for example, picked up a stiff neck during the delays.

    Still, as Klopp arrives the next morning for an exclusive sit-down interview with Goal, he is in good spirits, and ready to talk. In this mood, there are few better.

    There has been a noticeable spring in the Reds boss’ step this summer. He looks, sounds and feels like a man who is ready for business, who knows what is required and, crucially, believes in his ability to deliver.

    Kiev already feels a long time ago. The pain of a Champions League final defeat may never fully be erased, but Klopp says he was ready to move on within hours of the final whistle. The following day, a video emerged online of him singing in his kitchen alongside a German punk band. He looked like a man who had ‘taken the L’ pretty well.

    “You saw the video, yeah?” he smiles, covering his face with his hand momentarily. “Well, everybody obviously had a little bit too much alcohol, and when that happens then you should put all smartphones away! That’s the best advice.

    “But I can say this; with all I have, I want to win. I hate losing. I have had to learn to accept it but I still hate it! But after the final whistle, I don’t waste my life suffering. I don’t take the defeat around with me, I go somewhere for a few moments and then I’m done.

    “It cannot help to carry it around. You have to put it away, you can’t go through the game again and say ‘but this and that’. The things from the game are obvious and I can talk about them, but I don’t feel them. That’s how it is.”

    The feeling leaving Kiev was that Liverpool would carry a lot of regrets back to Merseyside. Loris Karius’ errors, of which no further analysis needed, Mohamed Salah’s injury and Gareth Bale’s wonderstrike decided a game that, for long periods, had been closely fought.

    For Klopp, it was another missed opportunity, another final gone. That’s six in a row he’s lost now, a fact he is acutely aware of.

    That run started in 2013 with another Champions League final, a defeat for his Borussia Dortmund side at Wembley against Bayern Munich. But if we’re looking for similarities between Dortmund then and Liverpool now, then we’re barking up the wrong tree.

    It’s different, you’re right,” he says. “We lost Mario Gotze after that 2013 final – in fact we lost him two weeks before that!

    “It was not ‘over’ for Dortmund after that final, we were still a good team who could finish second and get to the cup final and things like that, but it was not exactly the same, yes. Somebody came and thought ‘they’re too good, let’s try to avoid the next step!’

    “With Liverpool, we never felt Kiev was the last step. We are in the middle of our development. We are not unbeatable, we are not the best team in the world but we have a specific style of play which makes us a really good side.

    “I was really happy, for example, with how we played for half an hour in the final. I think before the game everyone felt ‘Real Madrid is the better team so they will win’ but after half an hour a lot of people who don’t watch us that often will have thought ‘game on!’

    “I was happy with that, but we didn’t win so that’s that. We start again, we are silver-medallists in the Champions League, if you like, but we need to start over. We will get a really tough group, for sure, but we have to be ready. I think we will be."

    He’s right. Where his Dortmund side was weakened immediately after their defining night, his Liverpool team already feels stronger. Fabinho signed two days after the final, Keita joined a month later, and Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson Becker have been added since. Liverpool are the bookmakers’ second-favourites for the Premier League this season, and as short as 11/1 to win the Champions League. Their curve is an upward one.

    “I was not in doubt about my team before the game and I was not in doubt afterwards either,” Klopp insists. “It was only that we had that chance and it had gone.

    Do you get it again? I waited five years and had to move clubs to get another chance, but that’s life. A lot of my colleagues tried their whole lives and never got there. I went there twice, which is big, but with not winning it can only be an experience. It’s an interesting experience, but it’s not what it could be.

    “You can win a final with a really bad team if you’re lucky. Nobody wants to play the best football in the final, only to win it. For us, that didn’t happen.”

    So what would make it ‘happen’ this time around then? Depth? Experience? Fortune?

    We need to be a little bit more lucky in decisive moments,” Klopp says. “For example, if you saw the final; Madrid played with their strongest line-up, with every player included. Okay, Carvajal got injured but they had Marcelo, bam, centre-halves, bam, midfield, attack, everyone.

    “We had a strong team too, but we played with the same team for what, the last 12 games? And that’s not an advantage!

    “If you want to be successful in these competitions – Premier League, Champions League – then you need to have a wider squad. That’s what we are trying to do.

    “The squad last season was wide enough, actually, but in one week we lost three players and it’s like ‘wow!’ The midfield was like….gone, and it’s a very intense position. You see the players and they run left and right and you’re thinking…..”

    At this point, he puts his head in his hands.

    “Then we had Chelsea chasing us until the last game,” he continues. “They were 2-0 down against Southampton, and if they lost that game then our season is over and we can prepare for the final. But they win it, and so we have to go ahead until the very last matchday. It was really tough.

    But that’s the job. Nobody moaned. You cannot blame anybody, and we don’t try to. What we do instead is try to make the squad wider with similar quality and then try to make the next step together. Hopefully everybody can see that.”

    They can. There is a risk of sounding overly-positive about Liverpool – they are yet to get ‘over the line’ in terms of a trophy under Klopp of course – but undeniable is the progress being made at the club, on and off the pitch.

    Nowhere is this more evident than in the transfer market. What was Liverpool’s Achilles heel for so long is now starting to look like a real strength. The Reds’ recruitment, led by director of football Michael Edwards, has been exceptional during Klopp’s time at the club.

    Forget the fees – that’s a debate for another day – the sheer amount of talent that has been attracted to Anfield over the past three seasons, and the way in which the majority have been able to find their feet and make an impact on the first team, is impressive to say the least.

    Which begs the question; what makes it work so well, and who deserves the credit?

    “The big thing is to be always working together,” Klopp says. “How can I go around and say it’s about this or that?

    We talk about positions, and then we bring in the names from left and right. Then we think ‘oh yes, sounds good, make a video’. Then we make a video and it looks even better!

    “That’s how it works. It’s not one genius decision where someone says ‘oh, I think if we can get him then…’ stuff like that. They are obvious things.

    “Salah we worked all together, with Sadio we worked all together, now with Shaqiri we worked all together. That’s how it is; one brings it up, then someone else makes the next step. But at the end, I have to make a decision; does it fit or not? If I think it fits then we do it.

    That’s what we have done the last few years, that’s what we did with Virgil in January, now with Alisson it’s the same.

    “I’ll use an example; Robbo [Andrew Robertson]. Robbo we had a long think about. There were not 20 clubs who wanted Robbo. A left-back getting relegated and then coming here? It was clear that he needed time, but he took the time, he used the time and now, if I was to sell him I would have more than 20 clubs wanting him. People would pay much more than we did now!

    “The whole team gives players opportunity to settle quick and to use their quality to make the next step in their own careers. That’s really cool and hopefully we can continue like this.”

    Perhaps fittingly, the interview ends on a positive note. Klopp leaves with a smile and a swagger. Back to work, back to business.

    It’s already been some ride for Liverpool supporters; this season could be even better. Time to deliver.

  2. Ron1892

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    Mar 27, 2009
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    I want Scousers in my team' - Klopp on how Liverpool plan to bring through the next generation at Anfield

    In Part Two of Goal's exclusive, in-depth interview, the Reds boss discusses the need for a local heartbeat, and why their move to Kirkby will help

    Jurgen Klopp’s eyes light up as he sees the topic coming.

    After talking about the Champions League final, after discussing his club’s recruitment drive and going through his hopes and dreams for the new season, we have landed on a subject that gets the Liverpool manager’s ears pricked.

    We are midway through the Reds’ eight-day, three-city tour of the USA. It’s not all been plain sailing – Borussia Dortmund beat them in Charlotte and plane issues delayed their arrival in New Jersey – but observing Klopp’s squad at close quarters Stateside, one thing is abundantly clear.

    This club has some very gifted young footballers emerging.

    Later that evening, against Manchester City at East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium, we will see Ben Woodburn, 18 but already a goalscorer for club and country. We will see Rafa Camacho, a winger playing full-back and doing so with distinction. We will watch Nat Phillips and Caoimhin Kelleher, Dom Solanke and Sheyi Ojo and Marko Grujic. All of them 22 or under, all of them making strides under Klopp.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold, 19 years of age, missed the tour because he spent the summer at the World Cup with England. But in America, another young Scouser has stepped up to the plate. Curtis Jones, at 17, is the youngest of the lot, born in 2001, just a month before Klopp began his managerial career with Mainz.

    That’s enough to make anyone feel old, surely?

    “Crazy! 2001!” Klopp smiles. “But he’s not too bad, eh?”

    It may be pre-season but Jones, a silky, confident attacking midfielder from Liverpool’s city centre, already looks very much at home among the Reds’ senior squad. He walks with a swagger and he plays with one. Team-mates, staff and Klopp himself have all been taken by his emergence.

    Liverpool, of course, is a club whose history has been built upon home-grown excellence. From Tommy Smith to Phil Thompson, Jamie Carragher to Steven Gerrard through Terry McDermott, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Ian Callaghan, Chris Lawler and Ronnie Moran - Scousers have long provided the heartbeat of one of English football’s most decorated clubs.

    Alexander-Arnold and Jones, potentially, can continue the tradition for years to come. Local lads representing their club, something Klopp is desperate to see.

    “I love it, I love it!” he tells Goal. “It’s important for this club.

    “If you have the chance, then you should do it. How many people live in Liverpool? 500,000? Iceland has 330,000, I think, so Liverpool should have enough people to create our own team!

    But of course, the more the better. With Stevie and Carra, it was great to have those kind of boys come through, really cool. We will see with Curtis, there is still a long way to go but the first signs are really positive. He’s a good player, he can be very good, we will see.

    “It’s always this little plus if they come from Liverpool. If I have two players, same quality, but one speaks proper English and the other one speaks Scouse, the Scouser is in! That’s why we are Liverpool.”

    These are not empty words. Since his arrival at Anfield in October 2015, Klopp has repeatedly shown a willingness to trust and to blood young players. He has given debuts to no fewer than 13 players aged 22 or under.

    Not all of them will make it at Liverpool, of course. Some have already departed while others are out on loan. Only Alexander-Arnold and Solanke have made more than 25 appearances.

    That is the challenge clubs face, striking the balance between trusting their Academy products and maintaining a competitive, experienced first-team. Liverpool, who aim to challenge for the Premier League and Champions League this season, require exceptional players to do so.

    Still, Klopp is enthused by what he sees coming out of his U-23 and U-18 sides, even if some may take time to find their true level, be it at Anfield or elsewhere.

    “I’m excited, of course,” he says. “But it’s getting more and more difficult for young boys at a club like Liverpool, to be honest. On one side we are buying players for 50 or 60 million, and on the other we are getting players for free from the youth team. But they need time and opportunity to play.

    “They play in the U-23s, which is fine, but then they don’t like it that much. They train the whole week with the first team and then they go to play with the U-23s and the dressing room is as big as this table and there are no supporters! It’s not the same.

    “You need to find a moment, but Trent came through without going on loan. That will not be possible for all of them, but we will see. If you have these kind of players, and you can get one through every two or three years, it’s massive. Massive!”

    Massive, too, will be the changes to come at the club off the field. The Reds confirmed this summer their plans to leave their historic Melwood training base in order to combine its first-team and Academy operations at a redeveloped centre in Kirkby, a few miles outside of the city. Work on the project is expected to be completed in 2020.

    “It will help us, for sure,” Klopp says.

    “Look, Melwood is a really great place, historic. I love it. The problem is we are really separated. It’s not far from Melwood to Kirkby but it’s too far, and so I cannot watch youth games. And I’m 10 or 12 hours a day at Melwood, so I have time to do that if I could. Between meetings, I could easily go and watch a game or a session, and then I would see the players earlier. Not only me, but the other staff as well.

    “Melwood is perfect for now, but with its size we cannot do one thing more. If we want one new office, we need to build a new floor! In the moment it is OK, but in the future it will be too small, so we will build and we go together.

    “It will be the football headquarter of Merseyside. The ones who go through that Academy, at all steps, must be brilliant footballers. That’s the goal. I’m really looking forward to it.

    “It’s good for the Academy as well. If you go to U-18 games there, you know what the wind is like, yeah? When we go there we will sort it, we will build things around it that can help the young players.

    “Building things is always good for the future of a club. That will be massive, and I know [Reds co-owner] Mike Gordon is really excited about the project. It will be outstanding.”

    No wonder his eyes lit up. The here and now may be what really matters for Liverpool, but with Klopp at the helm and big plans afoot, the future at Anfield looks very bright indeed.
    HappyRed, honald_tdb and kerryred68 like this.
  3. Ron1892

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    Mar 27, 2009
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    Part three



    “I could be sleeping, but I’m here talking to you!”

    Jurgen Klopp is smiling again, making a point in that trademark manner. A grin and a chuckle, but a message beneath the geniality.

    He doesn’t have to be here, you know!

    He is, though, thankfully, giving up his time and energy for an exclusive, sit-down interview with Goal . There have been other media engagements already that morning too. There have been camera crews, a podcast recording and duties for his club’s TV channel. Being the manager of Liverpool is a 24/7 job, even in pre-season. The fun never stops.

    It is to Klopp’s credit – and that of his media staff too, to be fair - that he deals with the various demands and requests so well. Few Premier League bosses are more accommodating with the Press or TV reporters, and not many offer as much insight or colour, either.

    “If football hadn’t worked out, I probably would have ended up being a sports reporter,” he once said. Martin Quast, a German journalist and close friend of Klopp’s, remembers him starting an internship at SAT1 , the first privately-owned TV station in Germany, whilst playing at Mainz in the 1990s. Among Klopp’s big successes was a feature on the Roschingers, the two most successful snowboarders from the Hesse region. He had interviewed the sisters, added a voice-over and edited the feature himself. “He was talented,” Quast said.

    Thankfully – or should that be sadly – it was in football, rather than journalism that Klopp ended up. But after talking about winning and losing, and about young players and new players, Goal is intrigued. What does he really think of the media? And what are his views on the depth and breadth of football coverage in 2018?

    “I am a little bit split in my opinion on this, to be honest,” he says, picking his words carefully. “On the one hand, football clubs get the money from the media because everybody is interested in what we do. But on the other side, yes, not everything is how it should be, I would say.

    “I respect the job of journalists, absolutely. People want to be informed, I get that. Could journalists sometimes be a little bit better prepared? Yes, to be honest! They ask how you feel when you lost 5-0! What do they think I’ll say?!

    “Those kind of things are not too good, but apart from that it’s just part of the business. We can talk about football. It’s absolutely fine.”

    Klopp, like many managers, regularly insists he doesn’t read newspapers, and he certainly isn’t one for social media. Regular visitors to Melwood will know, however, that he is rarely behind on the narratives and talking points when it comes to Liverpool. He knows what’s being said.

    “I don’t read about football really,” he tells Goal. “From time to time I have Sky on or whatever, but not really a lot.”

    At this point, he references an incident the season before last, when he reacted angrily to criticism from Gary and Phil Neville about one of his players, Loris Karius. In a memorable press conference, he remarked that: “[Gary Neville] showed when he was a manager that he struggled with the job to judge players, so why do we let him talk about players on television?”

    Nearly two years on, he is able to laugh off the “spat”. “I made a mistake,” he says. “I was a little harsh about the Neville brothers, for sure, but I said what I said.”

    Klopp has done punditry, both in Germany and, for Sky, in England. He knows how the industry works and appreciates the challenges facing those whose job it is to inform, to analyse and to educate.

    But, he says, he still doesn’t read them!

    “I don’t sit and listen to what people say about us,” he insists. “I’m really not interested. If we are bad, I know it before they know it, and if we are good, I know it before they know it. It makes no sense to listen to them.

    “I don’t read anything about English football, I occasionally see something about us but only if the headline is harmless! If I see a headline is going in a particular direction, then forget it!

    “But I want to have a normal relationship with journalists. I don’t want to be one of these managers who is like ‘who wrote that?’ and then I will not talk to them. That makes no sense.

    “I learned a long time ago in Germany that you get good and bad. I knew each journalist in Germany, but does it help? They are not friends of mine, but I don’t hate them!”

    Klopp remembers those early days at Mainz, when he would hold press conferences attended by two or three journalists and maybe, on a good day, a photographer or cameraman too.

    Now, it is standing room only at Melwood, where crews from the four corners of the globe can always be found. Football coverage now is non-stop, the demands on players and managers must be immense.

    “Yes, but that’s not just the media,” Klopp says. “It’s also associations like FIFA and what they do with the World Cup, what they do with the [African] Nations Cup. We squeeze the orange until there’s nothing left any more, and all on the back of the players. That’s the truth.

    “Take the World Cup. There was one day after the group stages where there was no game and I think the whole world was ‘wow, what do we do tonight?!’ They were used to watching three games a day!

    “It doesn’t stop. It’s a lot, but that creates the money that we all earn, so how can I complain about that?

    “I love the game, I really do. I have loved it since I was three years old. That’s what matters to me.

    “The media thing, it doesn’t bother me. Yes, you lose a game and have to give 17 interviews, and yeah it’s not what you want to do. But you don’t want to do it if you win the game!”

    “Mind you,” he adds. “It is easier when you do win!”

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    Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2007
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    Bollocks, meant to buy that yesterday, £9.49 now. :(
  5. kerryred68

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    Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2010
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    I'm just starting it tonight hopefully so no idea yet, sorry.
    Ron1892 likes this.
  6. kerryred68

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    Jan 22, 2010
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    Just seen that Klopp, Mourinho and Guardiola will start this season without their long time assistants. Mourinho isn't looking like he's taking it well so far.
  7. kerryred68

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    Jan 22, 2010
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    I'm up to where he sign for Liverpool. So far, it's been about his backround and his fathers role in his career.

    I'm enjoying it, tbh.

    Especially reading where he turned down both Manc clubs prior to leaving Dortmund.
  8. Skintown Red

    Skintown Red
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    May 6, 2009
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    Mourinho whinging again about transfers and saying we are buying everyone (4 to uniteds 3). What a cock, he's had his money and just spunked it out on sparkly luxuries with no overall strategy and no doubt more will be spent before Thursday. Also has he ever thought about actually trying to coach the current bunch he has? Can't think of one player under his time there that has got better, whereas under Klopp you could put an argument forward for every player maybe bar the keepers.
  9. Ron1892

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    Mar 27, 2009
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    Inside Jurgen Klopp's mind as Liverpool boss discusses transfer decisions, 'the next step' and surprise root of squad's togetherness

    Jurgen Klopp walks over and pulls up a chair.

    “Nice holiday, hey?” he grins as the Liverpool boss gazes out across Lake Geneva.

    For players and staff, the week-long training camp in France proved to be anything but. The hard yards were put in as the Reds stepped up their preparations for the 2018/19 campaign."But it's what I want to have. You need luck in decisive moments and you need consistent outstanding performance levels - then you earn the right to win something.
    "This club has made some fantastic steps in the last few years. For me, now it's about making the next step."

    A gruelling pre-season which has taken Liverpool from Chester to Dublin via Tranmere, Bury, Blackburn, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and Evian is nearly complete.

    Only Tuesday's final friendly against Torino at Anfield stands between the Reds and next Sunday's Premier League opener against West Ham.

    During an engaging half hour in his company Klopp's passion and energy for the challenges ahead shines through.

    While rival bosses are stamping their feet and demanding further reinforcements ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline, Klopp is clearly satisfied with his lot.

    The German coach has achieved so much already during his first three years at Anfield. Liverpool have reached three major cup finals and secured back-to-back top-four Premier League finishes for the first time in nearly a decade.

    The squad he inherited has been transformed and the Reds are once again a major force to be reckoned with on the European stage. But Klopp wants more, much more.

    I'm fine with what we've done, fine that we did it, but it's nothing to be proud of,” he told the ECHO.

    “I am a very positive person but even I cannot say that reaching a final is the maximum because it's not the maximum. When we are there, we have to win it.

    “I am mostly fine with the performances we've showed in these finals, we always did what we could do and that's important.

    “The real positive thing is that there's still a lot of space for improvement and development - that's what we are going for.

    “We feel in a good moment. The closer it comes to the start of the season, it's less important how we feel and more important that we're ready.”

    A squad which embarked on a thrilling journey to the Champions League final in Kiev in May has been reinforced with £170million worth of talent this summer.

    The arrival of Naby Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson Becker has fuelled the belief that the Reds are well equipped to raise the bar this season.

    “We believe in it, that's why we do it,” Kloppsaid. “We don't think constantly about it, we only prepare for the next challenge.

    “We had a good team last year. From the team we started with, we lost Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho.

    Now Phil is, if you want, already forgotten as we played half a year without him. But in this moment last season he was in.

    “Emre was a fixed line up player – physically strong, football wise strong, he played a lot of games. But it's not like you feel (deflated).

    “We've made some really good transfers. I am really happy with what we've got here.

    “What we need to do is achieve the point where it all fits together. Bringing together all the qualities of the new players with the qualities of the established players so it really works together so then we can say: 'Now we make the next step.'

    “You can't say the next step is tomorrow but hopefully it will be during this season. The next step for us would not be improving our football on the highest level, it would mean playing the same football more often.

    “It's not that we say we need to improve this and that. We only need to do what we've already done on our best days much more often.”

    Silverware may have eluded Klopp during his Anfield reign so far, but the progress he has overseen and his swashbuckling brand of attacking football has undoubtedly enhanced the club's pulling power in the transfer market.

    “We are really back among the top clubs in Europe. That's a big achievement. Nobody is really interested but it is ,” he said firmly.

    “We feel it when we sign players now. It's not that we come and say: 'By the way, Liverpool is not as bad as everyone says and the club is still existing, we're still here.'

    “We are on the screen now for all the players in the world. They watched us last season, they watched us the year before, they saw what we did.

    “It's much easier to convince, actually we don't need to convince them.

    “With Virgil (van Dijk) it was like this, with Naby it was like this. Before that it was the same with Sadio (Mane) and Mo (Salah).

    With our signings this summer we didn't have to create some kind of story and say to them: 'The Queen comes to Liverpool sometimes and if you sign for us you can meet her!'

    “We only spoke about football - that was enough. That's a good sign for us. Of course we now have to carry on in that way.”

    A sense of unity propelled Liverpool towards a top-four domestic finish and a place in the Champions League final last season. Players, staff and supporters all came together as one powerful force.

    Neither the January exit of Coutinho nor a succession of injury setbacks in the spring shook them off course. Klopp is keen to harness that spirit and togetherness once again.

    Absolutely. The players did that,” he said.

    “Okay, the supporters did it as well. The main thing really was that everybody in the crowd realised: 'This is my team.' The boys realised: 'Okay, now we're their team.'

    “It was pretty much the same moment. These boys came together over the course of last season in an exceptional way.

    “It started in pre-season with difficult moments with the 'Phil Story' (Coutinho's desire to join Barcelona). We didn't discuss it a lot but everybody knew about it, they knew it was happening.

    “You have a good friend but actually he wants to leave. How they dealt with that then and during the season when it was still clear that he wanted to still leave and probably would was so good.

    “Phil too. He was 100% here until he left – that was really cool and a good lesson for all of us.

    “That's the situation that we need to create again. So these boys really work in the same way, create the same kind of spirit as we had last season as that was the basis for everything we reached. If we want to reach more, that's the least we need.”

    Liverpool have a strong platform to build on. Last season was the first time since 2008/09 that the Reds had gone an entire Premier League campaign unbeaten at Anfield and their tally of 10 goals conceded at home was their lowest for 11 years.

    In total they kept 17 Premier League clean sheets – their most since 2009/10.

    Player of the Year Mohamed Salah shattered a host of records en route to his remarkable 44-goal haul with Roberto Firmino (27) and Sadio Mane (20) also making major contributions.

    Not since Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and Terry McDermott combined to wreak havoc in the early 80s had Liverpool had three players net at least 20 times each in all competitions.

    Yet such was the standard set by champions Manchester City that the fourth placed Reds finished 25 points adrift of Pep Guardiola's side.

    Liverpool were never in the race as a slow start saw them win just three of their opening nine league matches.

    Can they really bridge that gap in 2018/19 and clinch the prize that Kopites have craved for nearly three decades?

    “I don't know, but it's a job to do,” Klopp said.

    “It doesn't make sense to think about any other team in the league. We didn't lose the points against City, we lost the points against all the other teams.

    “When I say we need to be more consistent, it's about getting more points. Why should we think about City? We only think about them in the moment we play them.

    “We don't start chasing them before the season has started and think: 'Oh if they win and we draw on the second matchday, it's done.' That would make no sense.

    We have to be 100% focused on ourselves and take all these games like finals. Whether it's a weekend final or a midweek final, let's play with all we have, final whistle, judge it, analyse it, next game. That's how a season should be.

    “In a positive moment you can come into a kind of flow like City had last year. We had to fight much more for our points in most of the games than they had to. But they fought as well – they had a lot of 2-1 results with a late winning goal and all that stuff.

    “To play football is very important but to fight for the result is more important. That's what we have to show constantly – that desire to fight for the result. First of all, be ready to fight.”

    Pre-season has been a balancing act for Klopp with key personnel returning from World Cup duty at different times.

    He will only have his full squad together for the first time on Monday when Dejan Lovren reports back to Melwood.

    Some have had to be thrust into action sooner than Klopp would have liked but in the circumstances it's been a productive five weeks - underlined by Saturday's 5-0 thrashing of Napoli.

    New signings have settled quickly, star names have returned firing on all cylinders and a host of youngsters have grasped their chance to shine.

    “All managers have had the same problem – some teams more, some teams less,” Klopp added.

    But pretty much all teams in Europe have faced the same situation. The problem is not when they're coming back.... in an ideal world you would give them a six-week pre-season like the other boys.

    “That's the problem. They come back, yes they're looking sharp now, nice work, but should they look sharp in that moment or in three or four weeks?

    “You have seen all of the games. They have all had highs and lows which is normal in pre-season.

    “These players we have to treat differently as we come closer to the first game. It's always this kind of mix.

    “It's not ideal, but it's the situation and we have to use it. If you asked the managers in the world if we wanted to change it we would all immediately say: 'Yes, 100%.'

    “We want to have all the players together for a six-week pre-season – a two-week camp like in Evian, only training, on the bicycles there and back, three sessions, two sessions, one session, half a day off – that would be perfect.

    “Football would then be on another level. It would be quicker and stronger tactically, but instead we are only all together for the final week and then we play.

    “We make the best of it. There are much bigger problems in the world than we have got. So far I'm fine with what we've done and how it's worked out.”

    So what would represent success for Klopp's Liverpool in 2018/19?

    The manager pauses for thought and leans back in his chair.

    "Development," he said. "What I wish is winning something. Can I promise it? Of course not.

    But it's what I want to have. You need luck in decisive moments and you need consistent outstanding performance levels - then you earn the right to win something.

    "This club has made some fantastic steps in the last few years. For me, now it's about making the next step."


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  10. Ron1892

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    Mar 27, 2009
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    Jurgen Klopp talks bucket lists, his relationship with FSG and Jordan Henderson's role in new-look Liverpool side

    An animated Jurgen Klopp is talking bucket lists. The Liverpool manager's sporting passion extends way beyond the game which has brought him both fame and fortune.

    “I have to watch hurling in Ireland,” he tells the ECHO.

    “I also need to go to a Gaelic football match live for sure.

    “I have this kind of list and seeing the All Blacks playing rugby is on there too, probably a home game.

    Cricket? Yeah, I need to experience it, I just don't understand the scores.

    “I see them constantly flash up on the TV but I have no idea who's in the lead. It could take a while for me to get cricket. Baseball seems a bit easier to count the points at least.”

    Klopp ticked that one off on a recent trip to Boston during the Reds' pre-season tour of America.

    It will be three years in October since he arrived at Anfield but, remarkably, it was the first time he had visited the headquarters of owners Fenway Sports Group.

    Klopp joined the FSG hierarchy of John W Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon at Fenway Park to watch their in-form Boston Red Sox take on Minnesota Twins.

    Fenway Park is quite a spectacular place to be honest,” Klopp said.

    “It's really interesting. I heard there was a picture of me at the game where I looked quite bored, I wasn't bored! I was concentrated, I tried to get the game.

    “Tom Werner explained it to me. Not that complicated, even I understood after a few minutes that there are actually tactics.

    “Before I just thought someone threw the ball and someone else just tried to shoot it out of the stadium.

    “After nearly three years at Liverpool, it was time for me to see Boston at least. I flew over, had a few meetings and saw a baseball game. It was a nice experience, I enjoyed it.”

    Henry's wife Linda Pizzuti ensured a trip to the Red Sox store was factored into the schedule. Klopp is now properly kitted out having been pictured wearing a New York Yankees cap while on holiday in Ibiza earlier this summer.

    To me, it just had New York on it,” Kloppexplained. “They kindly gave me some Red Sox ones.”

    Klopp immediately hit it off with Henry, Werner and Gordon when he met them for talks in New York in the autumn of 2015 about the possibility of taking over from Brendan Rodgers.

    He enthusiastically mapped out his vision for Liverpool over six hours in a Madison Avenue law firm and within a week his appointment had been confirmed.

    Since then the bond with FSG and in particular with Gordon has only strengthened. Trophies may have eluded the Reds but the rate of progress has been impressive.

    Klopp described himself as 'The Normal One' at his Anfield unveiling, but Werner told the ECHO shortly before May's Champions League final in Kiev that 'The Exceptional One' was a more fitting description.

    FSG's belief in Klopp is unwavering and the manager says they have backed him to the hilt.

    His squad has been bolstered with £170million worth of talent this summer following the £75million swoop for Virgil van Dijk back in January. It was a mutual decision to sanction the £142million sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

    For more than six years Andy Carroll was Liverpool's record signing – that £35million figure has since been exceeded on six occasions.

    Absolutely, the relationship with the owners is strong,” Klopp said.

    “It's been there from the first moment but it has grown in a pretty health way.

    “From the sports side, we never ask for crazy things. It's not that we say: 'If we don't get this, we cannot do it.'

    “I've always known about the things we could do and the opportunities we have. There has never been any need to moan.

    “John and Tom are our owners too but Mike is my person. He's our man, in FSG he's the LFC man.

    “He's doing an outstanding job and has a big heart for LFC, that's how it is. He loves the club and wants what's best for it – that's the truth.

    “We like working together – Mike Gordon, (sporting director) Michael Edwards and myself. It's a really healthy relationship.”

    Klopp insists the calibre of the Reds' leadership off the field is matched by the man wearing the armband on it.

    Jordan Henderson is back at Melwood after an extended break following his exploits at the World Cup with England.

    Typically, the Reds captain wanted to return early but Klopp was adamant that he needed to take three weeks off to rest after a gruelling year for both club and country.

    This will be Henderson's fourth season as skipper. Some questioned where he would fit in after the signings of Naby Keita and Fabinho but he remains key to Klopp's plans.

    Hendo is so important to us, not only as a player but also as a person and as a leader," Klopp said.

    "You need these players like Hendo and Millie (James Milner) to help create a special spirit in the squad, otherwise it doesn't work.

    "There are no doubts about Hendo. I didn't need the final proof in and around the World Cup or in last season.

    "He had to learn kind of a new position for him. I still remember the Burnley game (at Turf Moor in August 2016) when we lost 2-0 with 80% possession.

    "Hendo for sure was involved in the first goal with a press ball that he didn't win. One of the main things I was asked about after the game was: 'Can he really play as the No 6?'

    "I said: 'Yes, he can and he will.' He had to learn and he had to improve and that's exactly what he did.

    "He can still play as the eight or we could play some games with a double six, Fabinho could play the eight or whatever, that's all possible.

    "If things were fixed with just one line up and all the others were only needed when the rest are ill that would be the wrong way and we'd have no chance."

    Klopp certainly boasts greater strength in depth for 2018/19 than at any other stage of his Anfield reign.

    That was underlined during Saturday's 5-0 thrashing of Napoli in Dublin when he was able to unleash the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Daniel Sturridge, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri off the bench.

    "What we've tried to do during this transfer window and during the last few as well is to widen the squad, to widen the quality," Klopp added.

    "I really love our young boys, I really love them. But it's always in difficult moments in a season that you need them.

    "It's so important that you are prepared for the times in the season when it is really intensive, like in January.

    "If someone wants to see it in a difficult way – maybe August and September before the Champions League starts, before the League Cup starts, one or two players might think they don't play enough, but after that we will need them all constantly.

    If you have played 40 games at the end of this season that would be brilliant, not 50. Most of the boys probably played around 50 games last season but 43 or 44 would be perfect.

    "Then you can keep the level really high. I am completely happy with the choice I have in this squad and Jordan will play a very important role."

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  11. Niall

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    Feb 21, 2008
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