Jurgen Klopp has admitted that his side will not be at their best when they face Manchester City in the Community Shield on Saturday and has claimed he ‘couldn’t care less’ about how his newest signings are performing at the moment.
He insisted that he wants his squad to be ready for the long season ahead, which will be disrupted across the months of November and December by the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and looked ahead to this weekend’s game against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Darwin Nunez and Fabio Carvalho, two of the club’s newest signings, started last night’s game against RB Salzburg in Austria and picked up more vital minutes ahead of the return to competitive action on August 6.
“I understand people have to ask, but I couldn’t care less how they [his new signings] are at the moment because we have to get through this period immediately,” said Klopp (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo).
“It is a long season, then a long break in between (for the World Cup) and another pre-season, stuff like this, really strange. We have to make sure we are ready for that and not for tonight.
“We want to be ready for Saturday but it will be a big fight because we cannot be at our best. It’s pretty much impossible. The only good news is City are in the same situation as us.
“Salzburg have already been playing for two weeks, a league game and a cup game. In two weeks, we should look different.”
The former Borussia Dortmund boss was speaking after last night’s 1-0 defeat to the Austrian champions.
His side dominated for large parts of the game but failed in their attempts of finding an equaliser as the game turned feisty with a number of dangerous tackles coming in from the hosts, much to the frustration of Klopp.
“For Salzburg it was definitely no friendly, and for us as well,” he added.
“Salzburg had these kind of harsh challenges but they did really well. Sometimes I didn’t like the challenge too much but it’s fine. Nothing happened there I think (in terms of injuries).
“We played in the first half against a team that might play in the Champions League, and it’s a tough task for the line-up we chose.
“In the first half we made too many mistakes which they could use. We had good moments as well and could have scored four or five goals in the whole game, but we didn’t do that because in the first half we were too open and too wide. It was like a motorway with their speed, that’s how they got their chances.”
“The last half-hour was like a thunderstorm. We were like a truck but we didn’t finish the situations off. We should involve them (goals) in our games as well, but it will be fine.
“It feels average to lose a game and that’s why we were all animated at the end with the possible penalty (after a tackle on Luis Diaz). It would have been nice to get a draw for the effort. But the boys can do much better. It doesn’t feel great but we take it and go from here.”
The first half XI was a rather inexperienced one with youngsters Isaac Mabaya and Stefan Bajcetic starting the game alongside the likes of Curtis Jones, Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott.
At half time Bobby Firmino was introduced for Nunez and on the hour mark the likes of Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk and Mo Salah entered the fray.
We played some quality football at times during the second period but failed to find the breakthrough and were left somewhat frustrated at the full time whistle.
It was a good test ahead of Saturday’s game against the Citizens – one that we’re really looking forward to!