Press conferenceJürgen Klopp discusses trophy hunt, squad depth and Joe Gomez
In the second part of his pre-Leicester City press conference, Jürgen Klopp discussed Liverpool’s ongoing pursuit for trophies this season and Joe Gomez.
The Reds boss answered journalists’ questions at the AXA Training Centre on Wednesday ahead of his side’s Premier League encounter with the Foxes.
Read on for a summary of his comments…
On whether he decides to put the season in 'different segments'...
It's a building block that goes until pretty much the 35th matchday and then there's a finishing block! So we are still building. In the beginning of the season, when you have a really good start or a really bad start or whatever and you ask us, 'What do you make of the start?' and stuff like this. It's a start and nothing else. We have to carry on anyway. As long as it's not a catastrophe, you have to deal with it. If it is a catastrophe, then probably somebody else deals with it. That's the situation we are living in. We create a basis, that's true, for a decisive moment in the season. I don't know exactly when that will be but we want to be in the competition for different competitions. So, like the cup competitions and in the Premier League as well as long as somehow possible in the position where the last three or four matchdays are interesting. In the Premier League and all the others, we want to be there until the final and then we think about how to win the final. That was always the same, by the way. It didn't work out that often.
For us at least, it never happened that in this point of the year we are still in all four competitions. So that's special. And we came through this with a really tricky situation, so like having two of the best strikers in the world definitely not available and with Naby Keita, a world-class midfielder, not available, and past injuries and stuff like this. So the boys did a good job. But now, how I said, we have to again clear our minds and go for it with all freshness, with all desire, with all determination, all these kind of things. We don't go now for the Premier League. We just go into a Premier League game with all we have and that's the plan.
Watch Diaz in training, Salah's return and great goals
On being more able to compete on multiple fronts due to the depth of the squad...
This is a stronger squad, of course. There's no doubt about that. It would be a shame if that wouldn't be the case because we would have then become weaker over the years. We always had a strong squad and that we didn't make it that far in four competitions, I think we spoke it before, there were a different bunch of reasons. Timing in life is important and in football as well, so when you come through a brilliant December, for example, on three wheels and then in January it gets a bit bumpy. In January the cup competitions start properly and then that means then if they are not ready, if you cannot play the players all the time, which we couldn't then in that time, if the draws are not that cool, we play away at United or Chelsea, then you have a problem – and they were the problems we had. In this moment we know we have a really good squad, but we know that other teams have really good squads as well.
Again, it's not important who you have available in the long term – very important in the short term. It's much more important how the available players perform and that's what we have to think about. Because in the end, whoever is available, you can still only line up 11 and change three, so the big decisive squad has not so much of an impact. But in the middle or long term, it has a massive impact and hopefully we can really use that because 12 games in that period means you play every three days and that's tough. The more players you have available, the more quality, the more experienced players you have available, the biggest chance to win the games if we perform the way we have to.
It's really unlucky for Joe, absolutely. When Joe played for us, he consistently played on an incredibly high level, one of the best centre-halves in England for sure. But then the big injury came, little injuries came on top of that, COVID came now. There was really bad timing – he would have definitely played Cardiff, it would have helped him to gain some rhythm, momentum if you want. He couldn't play there because of COVID and these kind of things. It's tough. What I can say as well, there are tougher things than being a squad player in the moment for Liverpool – there are much harder things out there in the world. The only answer in football is always you have to fight through these moments, that you are ready for the moment when the situation changes. That's it.
How I said, we had too often only one centre-half available or none even, so we couldn't have reacted differently. But the quality of the boys, and especially of Joe – who played obviously not enough football in the last few months – is incredible. Having him in training shows just what a high-quality squad we have in the moment. If somebody like Joe played only 15 minutes since Leicester the last time, that says everything about it. It's never nice for the players, I understand that 100 per cent, but Joe takes it really professional so far and knows he's still a young lad and everything will be fine in the future. But in the moment, it's for sure harder.