With the first of Liverpool’s pre-season games just 10 days away, Jürgen Klopp believes his side is ready to continue developing under his tutelage.
When it was announced that Jürgen Klopp would be the new manager of Liverpool Football Club, supporters were obsessed by the idea that the German manager could transform the Reds into a team similar to his Borussia Dortmund outfit which made it to the Champions League final in 2013.
Liverpool last season qualified for next term’s Champions League with a fourth-place finish in the Premier League.
Achieving a top four finish was the minimum requirement for the Reds but signals great progress after not finishing inside of the top four since 2009 – with a rare qualification in 2014.
Jürgen Klopp is excited for pre-season and believes that his players are ready to take the next step in their evolution under his guiding hand.
“Usually you always want to take the next step from one year to the next year,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com when asked how his plans for this summer may differ from last year.
“You have to see how things fit and when the new players are in.
“Young players are one year older, that doesn’t make the biggest difference but being one year longer involved in the first team.
“They can make big steps because they are a little bit settled in a good way. They feel not as excited anymore about each day in training, thinking ‘Oh my god, that’s Adam Lallana next to me’ and things like this. That can be a big difference.
“You have to probably make one or two steps back to then make five or six steps in the right direction. They are the same objectives.”
With Liverpool signing AS Roma star Mohamed Salah this summer for £36.9m, a lot has been speculated about the role that Philippe Coutinho will play in the side.
Many believe the Brazilian magician will play as a no.8, as he did in Liverpool’s last two games of the season and on international duty for Brazil but Klopp intimates that flexibility with new options in the side could mean his talisman doesn’t have a permanent role in the side.
Klopp continued, “Tactically-wise, getting more flexible – depending who is there and when – and introducing different systems.
“[In 2015-16], we played most of the time kind of 4-2-3-1, [in 2016-17] most of the time 4-3-3 or 4-5-1. In our opinion, it fitted best to the players we had.
“I’m not sure which way we have to play next year, there will be a few different ones. And we’ll prepare for European football also, so we need a bigger squad of course. We’ll be good. I’m looking forward to it.”
As well as the normal domestic commitments, Liverpool will also have European football to contend with next season and rotation and tactical flexibility will be crucial in ensuring that the Reds always maintain their attacking edge and ensure a greater defensive balance.
Naby Keïta is a player that is highly tipped to join Liverpool this summer in a £70m move from Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig. His acquisition would add a greater level of balance to Liverpool’s midfield but at an absolute premium.
Regardless of who signs for Liverpool this summer, it’s abundantly clear that Klopp has big plans for his side and I, for one, am excited.