Jurgen Klopp addressed his first pre-match conference for the new Premier League campaign ahead of Liverpool’s season opener against Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.
Liverpool will release the anchor and set sail on yet another footballing season when they visit the Emirates on Sunday to lock horns with Arsenal. Jurgen Klopp’s side will be brimming with confidence from their pre-season adventures and their fans, as ever, harbour hopes of a successful season ahead.
The German would have had a fair number of supporters excited when he claimed ‘everything was possible’ upon being questioned about Liverpool’s chances of winning silverware this season. Klopp was quoted by the club website as saying: “We will all have problems and it’s about finding the solutions. We have tried to prepare for that in this pre-season.
“We want to fight for everything. We’re not looking for excuses. In this moment everything is possible.”
However, he was also quick to point out that a lot of those hopes rest on how the players go about their business on the pitch. The German added that despite the influx of big names, it would ultimately come down to performances on the pitch.
“It’s exciting for everybody having these big names in the league,” added Klopp (via ThisIsAnfield). “We still all have to play and work. It’s not about the names, it’s all about the performance on the pitch. That’s what I’m looking forward to – the opportunity to win something.”
Going into the new season, Klopp will have to assume full responsibility over the Reds as it is now completely his team — unlike last year when he was working with a bunch of players inherited from his predecessor. And the German couldn’t have asked for a harder start to the Premier League season as his side entertain 4 of last season’s top 5 in the opening run of matches to the 2016-17 campaign.
Klopp insisted he wants to be careful with Daniel Sturridge and has hinted at the England international sitting out for the Arsenal game. The striker suffered a hip injury prior to Liverpool’s 4-0 mauling of Barcelona last week and it appears that the 26-year-old hasn’t yet attained full fitness to feature in the opening clash at the Emirates.
However, with James Milner, the German insisted that the 30-year-old required further assessment. The midfielder, who recently brought the curtain down on his international career, suffered a heel injury last week and, despite featuring in training, remains doubtful. Should he be fit, Milner is expected to take Alberto Moreno’s place at left-back.
Klopp was quoted by the club website as saying: “With Millie we have to wait. It’s better than we all expected after the [Barcelona] game when we saw him walking out of the stadium on crutches – that’s not the best picture you want to see after a game.
“On Sunday he felt better, on Monday he felt better. It’s a bruise in the heel, so that’s really painful and I can say that when it is too painful for Millie, then it’s really painful.”
The Serbian duo of Dejan Lovren and Marko Grujic are also in contention for action on Sunday, while new defensive recruit Joel Matip is fit to play. “There is no problem – Dejan has been completely normal in training,” added Klopp. “Marko was back in training on Thursday, it was not serious as I mentioned after the game – painful but not serious.”
Danny Ings not for sale
There was surprise when Klopp mentioned Ings in the same breath as Benteke and Balotelli while discussing the strikers that were surplus to requirements at Anfield. However, the boss has clarified that Ings’ situation is very different to that of Benteke and Balotelli, and that he will continue to remain an integral part of his plans for the club.
He is quoted by the Liverpool Echo as saying: “It’s not the same situation as the other two (Balotelli and Benteke), we’re counting on Ingsy.
“He was injured since October last year and he needed time. That’s how it is. Now he’s getting better and better. He know himself that in the first two or three weeks of pre-season even though he scored in the games it was too intense for him.”
The striker could return to competitive action for Liverpool after almost 9 months on the sidelines due to an ACL injury he suffered prior to Klopp’s arrival at the club in October 2015.