Jurgen Klopp wants players to step up as ‘reloaded' Liverpool look to hit stride
Jurgen Klopp accepts change at Liverpool was inevitable as he urged his “reloaded” side to find their own way ahead of the start of their Premier League campaign.
Liverpool saw captain Jordan Henderson and fellow midfielder Fabinho leave for the Saudi Pro League for a combined £52million, while Roberto Firmino and James Milner also departed Anfield this summer.
Virgil van Dijk will skipper the side this season as Liverpool try to rebound from last season’s fifth-place finish, which left them outside the Champions League places for the first time since 2015-16.
The Reds have signed World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and Hungary captain Dominik Szoboszlai, while Klopp expects a number of youngsters to bloom following the departures of a few big personalities.
Klopp said: “We don’t have to always say ‘Milner would have said that and Henderson would have said that and Firmino would have smiled here.’ We should not do it like that. That makes no sense.
“We have this kind of new start with this Liverpool FC reloaded, it’s an exciting thing. Everybody was asking for changes, rightly so, because we were together for a long time.
“It’s a new chance for everybody, everybody has to step up. We all share responsibility and it’s not that we should give ourselves too much time to grow into it, let’s do it.
“Let’s take the responsibility and go from there and don’t try to be like somebody. Be the best version of yourself and then you have a good chance to help the team in the best possible way.”
Liverpool have had a British transfer record fee in the region of £110m accepted by Brighton for Moises Caicedo but the Ecuador international’s preference for a move to Chelsea muddies the waters.
Chelsea have had a longstanding interest in the 21-year-old midfielder and are reportedly ready to step up with a similar bid, adding an intriguing subplot to Liverpool’s trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Blues’ 12th-place finish last term – their lowest in almost 30 years – has led to a complete overhaul, with former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino appointed to transform their fortunes.
Ahead of both sides’ Premier League opener, Klopp said: “They will want to show up, definitely. Poch is a top manager, so they will show up. We have to be ready. We have to be absolutely ready.
“The football they played (in pre-season) you can see it – Poch is there. We played against Mauricio very often when he was at Tottenham, you can see a lot of similarities from that time.
“It’s the first really competitive football game for us this season. We don’t want to waste time, we really want to go for it, but we have to see how it goes.”
Klopp insisted he has not felt the need to remind his charges of last season’s disappointing outcome and is satisfied by what they have done in pre-season.
He added: “The desire, the concentration, the readiness, the openness. I saw a lot of things where my thought was in that moment, ‘OK, they mean business, so let’s give it a go.’ You could see it.
“We are not happy. It’s not that I want to remind the boys every day and say ‘by the way, last year was like this and that.’ That makes no sense. We have a lot of targets and we are highly motivated.”