Belfast Telegraph

Klopp is not concerned by his lack of control during Pool's pre-season

In perspective: Jurgen Klopp admits his main focus is on making sure his Liverpool players are up to speed with their fitness and physical play
In perspective: Jurgen Klopp admits his main focus is on making sure his Liverpool players are up to speed with their fitness and physical play

By Gavin McCafferty

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claims he did not feel in control immediately before last season, even though his side went on to win the Champions League.

So this time around he is not overly concerned after a difficult pre-season which sees his team without a win in four friendlies.

However, he admits they face a "massively important" week of training in Evian, Switzerland after getting five players back on the field ahead of the FA Community Shield against Manchester City.

Sunday's 3-0 reverse against Napoli at BT Murrayfield made it three defeats and a draw for the European champions.

But Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah joined up with their team-mates in Switzerland yesterday after being given extra time off following international duty, and both Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri have recovered from injury.

And Klopp claimed the rushed nature of pre-season in modern football makes it difficult to prepare for any campaign.

Liverpool won their first seven competitive games last season before recording their highest league points tally, but Klopp said: "I didn't feel in control last year. Pre-season, you always have to do your best and you still don't know where you are before you start.

"Last year we had a home game against West Ham who had a couple of new players and weren't ready for us.

"But we are planning already for next pre-season, which you have to do pretty early, and with a Copa America and a European Championship, 15 players of my squad won't be in my pre-season. But again we start early.

"It's like it is, we have one week together and Sadio (Mane) comes next week. That's the situation. We can talk an hour about it but it makes no sense because obviously no one will change it. So it's a waste of time.

"Last year we didn't feel in control but, of course, good results in pre-season give you confidence, but that's not the most important thing.

"The most important thing is you get the physical skills for a long, long season because during the season we pretty much only have to prepare for games, there's not a lot of time to train.

"So you have to do what you have to do, but it feels not too cool if you then play these strong opponents.

"We have time to improve and that's what we will do."

Klopp was not sure how much importance the Community Shield has in English football as he previewed the Wembley encounter six days before meeting the champions.

He dismissed any suggestion the result would have a bearing on their league campaign but he accepts they must tighten up to avoid a damaging defeat.

"I don't think we can expect to play our best game on Sunday with the pre-season we have had, but it's not about that, it's about winning a football game and there are different ways of doing that," he said.

"I don't know why people play this competition if it means nothing, why don't we cancel it then? Because in Germany I won it five times and nobody mentions that but they play it every year.

"It's the Super Cup, you win it and nobody cares, you lose it and some care.

"I will ask exactly what it means for the club and the history of the club.

"But it's a game, we play against City and that's the most difficult game of the season and every season. So we have to be ready and it's a good test for the things that are there at the moment.

"We have to defend pretty well because if you don't defend well you could get a proper knock and that's not the idea of that game."

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