Jurgen Klopp: Increased competition for places will be beneficial for Liverpool this season

Managing the demands of a larger squad is something the Liverpool manager will have to get used to this season, but he believes it will only be a good thing for his side.

Jurgen Klopp: Increased competition for places will be beneficial for Liverpool
this season
Jurgen Klopp says having more players at his disposal can only be a positive thing this coming season, despite the fact some players will see less game time (Photo credit: Alex Livesey, Getty Images)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes a heightened competition for places in his first eleven will allow the Reds to “take the next step” this coming campaign.

When he selects his eleven for the first game of the season against Watford next Saturday, the German thinks it is inevitable that some players will be angry at being left out, saying some will find it more “difficult to play all the time”.

Liverpool have so far only made three signings – Mohamed Salah, Andrew Robertson and Dominic Solanke – but with European football to contend with, something absent last season, greater squad depth will be an absolute necessity.

There will be times when Liverpool play three matches in the space of seven days, and being able to rotate and keep individuals fresh will be hugely significant.

Having increased competition will also mean individuals are pushed to develop, wary that they might be out of the side if levels are allowed to drop.

“The plan is that they all make the next step. Of course we want to build on the base of last year,” Klopp said.

“I said we always want to develop this team and there are two things to do – signings and training so we did both.

“The signings are nice, either they play or they push another player. Now it’s more difficult to play all the time.”

Finding solutions

Keen to have multiple options and ways of playing, Klopp was looking to add even more players to his squad, but so far has been unable to snare Naby Keita, his top target. He remains in the hunt for centre-back Virgil van Dijk.

With injuries to Adam Lallana (long-term) and Philippe Coutinho (short-term) already making his team look light in midfield, another central player could also be an option.

Regardless of whether those additions are made, Klopp will back himself and his staff to get the best out of the players at their disposal, just as they did last season.

“You know and I know there is nothing like Liverpool. We know what we see in the players and we know what we have to do,” he said.

“We need to make sure it works much more often than it doesn’t work”.

With so many games to come, there will be chances for everyone to impress, as Liverpool aim to fight on as many fronts as possible. It is not only Europe to think about, with disappointing ends to both domestic cup competitions last season something to improve on.

“If we stay together like this there will be a few hard decisions because they can’t start all together. Then we have to see how this works.

“Be angry at me, no problem, stay confident, that is important, then three days (later) there is another game so let's be there again. There are a lot of challenges.

Liverpool are also adamant that Coutinho will not be allowed to leave for Barcelona this summer, a man who has impressed so far in pre-season, although he will miss the final game of pre-season with a sore back.

It is unlikely he will miss the start of the season, but Klopp is keen for a bigger squad to mean less reliance on certain players nonetheless, something a larger squad size should also address.

“We need to be independent of one or two players. We still have to have a style, a way of playing and we need to be able to play completely differently if needed.

"So far the pre-season has been pretty good. Phil has so far been outstanding and (so have) a few others," Klopp commented.

Liverpool will hope to add further to the competition for places between now and the end of the month when the transfer window closes, although some players such as Lazar Markovic and Mamadou Sakho are likely to be moved out.

Whatever moves take place, it seems Klopp is quite satisfied already.

Liverpool's final game of pre-season sees them face Athletic Bilbao in Dublin, before kicking off the new campaign away at Watford next Saturday.


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