Press Conference Analysis: Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp on transfers, Champions League draw and Alexis Sanchez

Press Conference Analysis: Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp on transfers, Champions League draw and Alexis Sanchez

Jurgen Klopp has been quizzed when he faced the media on Friday as journalists wanted an immediate reaction to the club’s Champions League draw. The Liverpool Echo report on the press conference, in which Klopp revealed his thoughts on Group E, also including Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor as he said:

“We watched it together after training. That was already exciting… You can imagine, there are a few groups and you think ‘oh my God!’ The problem with our group is that the less you know about someone, the less respect you show them… We remember the final against Sevilla and the quality they have shown in European competitions. Maribor, we don’t know anything about.”

The first fixture will come next month, but for now, Klopp is entirely focused on the Premier League. This weekend will pit him up against a manager who he has clashed with on the touchline previously but one that he hugely respects. There are few coaches with more experience than Arsene Wenger and Klopp made his respect clear, saying:

“Obviously Arsene loves what he is doing. He has all the energy needs. It was a hard season. After this wonderfully successful time, always in the Champions League and winning things, you get the feeling some people don’t want you. I don’t understand. I respect him for all the things he did for Arsenal and football. He is a big, big manager. I’m happy he is still there and we meet again on Sunday.”

Despite the Gunners dropping out of the top four last season, and mounting said pressure on the Frenchman, Klopp recognises that the London side can pose a real threat at Anfield. He called upon the Anfield support to replicate the support that his men received on Wednesday in their Champions League qualifier in order to beat their opposition on Sunday as he explained:

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“They probably have [Alexis] Sanchez back for the first time, that gives this team another boost. That is an advantage for Arsenal. Arsenal are still an outstanding strong side. We want to have the same atmosphere as Wednesday night again on Sunday. We need that help. It’s a very special game. I think it was really good, but it can still be better and make it really difficult for all the teams to get anything here.”

However, as mentioned above, Klopp does clearly have concerns about the threat of Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez. The number seven will return to the line-up for Wenger and Klopp knows that he can pose a major threat. Having been benched the last time Arsenal visited Merseyside, it seems unlikely that Liverpool will have such luck this time round. Klopp praised the Gunners’ attack as he said:

“He is pretty much involved in each situation. He is not fixed on one position. Very dominant. We don’t have to think too much about it. We defend in spaces so we don’t follow him all around the pitch. We need to stop the passes. If you’re too much concentrated on him then Ozil will show up, Lacazette, Walcott, Welbeck… oh my God! When we have the ball we have to know when to play.”

However, Liverpool have absences, and transfer sagas, of their own to handle. That includes Philippe Coutinho, who was included in the Brazil squad despite Liverpool saying that he is currently out through both illness and injury. When questioned, Klopp appeared reluctant to answer but gave little away as he answered:

“I don’t know but I think that will happen (Brazil will check him). That’s no problem. He’s on our injury list – that hasn’t changed. No contact with Brazil FA but if they want to check him that’s how it is.”

If Coutinho is sold, it could force the club into action in the transfer market. However, Klopp was keen to reiterate that he is happy with his current squad. Whilst there are still some possibilities for the club to act in the transfer market, it seems unlikely based on Klopp’s quotes as he explained:

“If and I said it a few times, the transfer window closes tomorrow, I am happy with it. Until August 31st a lot of things are really possible, in and out. [Divock] Origi wasn’t in the squad [against Hoffenheim on Wednesday] – that shows how big the quality here is. We work on it, as you can imagine. But this transfer window is different to all other transfer windows.”

He outlined the fact that the club have several options in the squad to fill in where there is a lack of options. Alongside the summer signings already made by the club, Klopp highlighted James Milner and Alberto Moreno in particular as being valuable players in new areas as he said:

“Dominic Solanke showed everything you want to see from a new player. Mo Salah we don’t need to talk about. Everyone thought: ‘[Andrew] Robertson? From Hull? But he showed up against Palace. [James] Milner in midfield is like a transfer. [Alberto] Moreno is like a new left-back. I am happy at the moment. Will I be happy on the 31st? I don’t know. Will I be even happier on the 31st?”

With less than a week left to go in the transfer window, by the time Klopp next faces the press in a pre-match press conference after the international break it could have an entirely different atmosphere.

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