Jul 1, 2020
Jürgen Klopp’s Pre-Match Press Conference for Liverpool v. Manchester City July 1
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp press conference on July 1 before the Manchester City match.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Jürgen Klopp: (00:00)
Speaker 1: (00:02)
Pep has confirmed that you and your players will receive a Guard of Honour ahead of the game tomorrow night. How special will that be for the team, and do you expect City to be your main challengers to retain the title next season once again?
Jürgen Klopp: (00:22)
Well, part one of the question, I’m not sure if I ever got one. Not 100% sure, but it’s long ago that we won in Germany something, and three more match days to go, I don’t know if it’s a German tradition as well. But yeah, it’s an English tradition, or a Premier League tradition, so we’ll take it. It’s a nice gesture, 100%. I wouldn’t need it, to be honest, because we go there and want to play a football game and ideally we want to win the football game, and don’t celebrate things would happen the week before us, stuff like that. But again, it’s a nice gesture, but that’s it pretty much.
Jürgen Klopp: (01:02)
Second part. Yes, City will be strong next season, United will be strong next season, Chelsea will be strong next season. They all will be strong next season, only the three of them. It’s obvious City is just an outstanding team. United is in outstanding shape and Chelsea is in a really good shape and it’s doing some interesting business. So that’s clear. Tottenham will not sleep, Arsenal will not sleep. They all come. Leicester will be there, and all that stuff. So there are a lot of teams, the thing is that we have to play obviously 38 games during a year and who wins most of them can win the league that have now for us the first time. So we will not defend the title or whatever next year, we will attack the next one. That will be difficult enough. But we’ll have the same situation and all the teams just what we achieved last year, in this case last week, is something for the history books. The rest is just hard work. And we will try to show that already on Thursday night or tomorrow night, but it’s difficult anyway, because City is a super team. Absolutely super team. And we have to show that we are ready for that.
Speaker 1: (02:14)
You’ve written an open letter to fans asking them to stay at home where possible. Are you confident they’ll respect your wishes, and we won’t have fans congregating at stadiums, and they’ll wait and celebrate at the right time?
Jürgen Klopp: (02:30)
I hope so. I can say it again. So it’s a difficult time for all of us and I can really understand it that the emotions are all over the place. I get that. It’s not only about ’30 years to whatever’. Most of our supporters did what we should have done all, stayed at home, maybe in a back garden, front garden, in front of the door, whatever, and had a nice whatever they could do together with the families and neighbors maybe. But yeah, the pictures we saw from the city center were obviously not what we wanted to see. And that’s what I say that the first time in my life, and because usually I love these pictures, but this is not a time for it. And that’s what we have to make sure, that will not happen again. And I hope that people listen, honestly.
Speaker 1: (03:23)
We’ll go to Simon Kirkpatrick. If you could unmute yourself [inaudible 00:03:26] and then Juliet, we’re going to come to you next.
Simon Kirkpatrick: (03:27)
Hello, Jürgen. I know you’ve spoken about your relationship with Pep with us before, but I’m just wondering the manner in which you’ve won the title this season. Has it changed anything in your relationship between yourself and Pep?
Jürgen Klopp: (03:43)
You mean my assistant?
Simon Kirkpatrick: (03:46)
Jürgen Klopp: (03:48)
How could it change? How do you mean it?
Simon Kirkpatrick: (03:50)
Well, I don’t know. Some people might get less chatty because you’re so far ahead or you might get, I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.
Jürgen Klopp: (04:02)
Ah. Now I get it. It’s long ago that we met last time, I don’t know exactly when it was, if it was of any event, I think we had two or three really nice nights together. And he’s an exceptional guy, I have to say. And his family’s, that’s in my case the same is even better than him. And so I really like the family and respect him a lot. I’ve said that plenty of times. No, we usually don’t have contact over a season. That’s how it is. We never had. That’s the situation. And nothing changed from my point of view. And I’m pretty sure from his point of view. He’s a competitor. He wants to win, but he accepts when he’s lost it’s in his case, just doesn’t happen that often. I had to learn that much more often. So that will not change him, and that will not change me.
Simon Kirkpatrick: (04:48)
It’s his four hundredth league game, actually. This one as a manager over the years as well. So I’m just wondering, going back a couple of years when they won it with a hundred points and you were 25 points behind that, how much that hurt you at the time and whether that’s important to you to get a big gap over all the rivals this time around.
Jürgen Klopp: (05:10)
Not at all. When you tell me 100 points, man, we had 75. That’s a good number. Honestly, most of the time in my life, I had no chance to reach that number. So, that’s a good one in a difficult league. We qualified for the champions league. That was our target this year. And City was by far the best team in the league and played an incredible football. So, no. What we did now this year, we didn’t plan the gap and we have to see how big it will be in the end of the season, in the moment. It’s big, that’s true. Now we play them. But we’ll change that in whichever direction. And so we have to chance to play seven more times football, which we couldn’t do before that for three months.
Jürgen Klopp: (05:50)
And so I hope that we still can show that. And I’m pretty confident we can show that, but that means not we will win against City, that only means we can give them a proper game. And that’s the first step to cause some problems, because it’s a most difficult football game you can imagine against City in our own specific situation. I don’t know yet, but maybe makes it slightly more difficult. But anyway, we have to show that we are there. The training was completely normal. It was not our training. It was not that I had to remind the boys constantly that they have to be focused and stuff like this. We know how we came here and we know what we want to do in the future. So we will do that on Thursday night as well.
Speaker 1: (06:30)
Fantastic. Thank you, Simon. Juliet, from the BBC.
Juliet (from the BBC): (06:33)
Hi Jürgen. Going back to January 2018, it was the first game after Philippe Coutinho left, and the match between Manchester was a sort of crazy sort of nine, 10 minutes where it went from one-one to four-one. Do you remember that time? And was that that point where you thought that you actually had a team that could go head to head with Manchester City?
Jürgen Klopp: (06:56)
Nope. I don’t remember that game, really. I don’t have it properly. Which gave are you talking about, by the way? It was against City or what? No.
Juliet (from the BBC): (07:04)
Yes. Manchester City. Yes.
Jürgen Klopp: (07:07)
Ah, that was that game, with…
Juliet (from the BBC): (07:07)
Jürgen Klopp: (07:10)
Yes! That strike, Saido’s strike, when it came up four-three, it was in the end, right? That was the first game after Philippe Coutinho left. Was that the first game after Philippe Coutinho left? So, no, I didn’t think we can go head to head or whatever. I was never interested. I was interested in us. Look, you face any team twice a year. With Cup competition, maybe three times. It’s pretty rare that you meet somebody four times. But that’s two times a year you have to worry about them. I never worried about City. I always worried about, okay, I worried once about City, it was around the Leicester game last year. That was a mistake. I will never do that again. But apart from that, I never did. So it’s not about City. It’s about us. What we do, in 38 games over a season.
Jürgen Klopp: (08:01)
And I knew I saw last season, not this one, last season, that we are ready to give them a proper fight so that we can collect enough points to be around in a decisive moments. That’s all what you need. And we were there. We didn’t make it. That can happen. And a year later we tried again exactly the same. Being focused completely on Euro games. And in the end, there is a gap or not. This time, it is a gap there. I don’t think there will ever be a similar gap. So it’s now. And how is that? They have to see how big it will be at the end of the season. But no. It’s nothing to do with City. We have to improve. We have to go the extra yard until the end of our career, if you want. At least as long as you wear this shirt. And that’s what we try to make clear. And so far the boys understood.
Speaker 1: (08:55)
Okay. Thanks, Juliet. Just before you start, we’ve got Zayed from BA, but after that, it’ll go Mike Hughes, James from talkSPORT, Ian Park from PA, and that’s it at the moment if you want to ask questions. So Zayed, if you want to go first.
Jürgen, many congratulations, first of all. Of course we know it’s going to be a difficult summer for everyone because of what happened with the Coronavirus in terms of transfers and so on. So how important is it that the African Cup of Nations is postponed, which means that during the campaign, you will be able to keep the likes of Naby Keïta, Mo Salah and Sadio Mané.
Jürgen Klopp: (09:30)
You are right. It’s difficult and will be difficult, so we don’t know. We have so little information in the moment how we will go on so we know when the season probably will end. We have no clue when the new season will start. And some decisions, especially if you have to plan them long beforehand, then you have to make them now. And I really like it that AFCON is postponed, but what I don’t like is the reasons for it. Because obviously the African continent thinks it’s not possible to have a tournament there, which I don’t like, obviously, but from the planning point of view, it makes sense. And for us, it helps that we don’t have to consider this tournament in that moment, because all these tournaments, especially when they are in the middle of the season, are not cool for any plannings.
Jürgen Klopp: (10:22)
And we have three of the best, if not the three best African players in our squad so they will be there for a long time. They don’t play a little bit group stage and go home. So they would be there for a long time, maybe until the final, and yes, for us. It’s good. But it’s not a decision to celebrate.
Speaker 1: (10:39)
Okay. Thanks, Zayed. Mike for two questions, Mike, if you’d like to unmute yourself.
Mike Hughes: (10:44)
Yep. Hi Jürgen, your consistency levels this season, last season, the back end of the season before in the league of being off the scale, where does that come from? What allows that to sort of, to happen? You’ve worked with good players before, but, but these levels are incredible.
Jürgen Klopp: (11:05)
Sorry, I cannot speak about that and everybody would do it. No, it’s just it’s the best. It’s the focus. It’s the concentration level. It’s the not thinking about the last game. It’s the club. It’s the pressure we get from the size of the club. It’s pretty much a mix of everything and it’s the desire to do something special. It’s a desire to create your own history. That’s what we wanted. And that’s the way we feel in the middle of something, not at the end of something. But I say that already since, since a couple of years, and that’s true.
Jürgen Klopp: (11:48)
Maybe we consider the end of something when we are not. When we finished Korea, that’s the end of this period of our lives. Until we finish our career, we have to give our everything. And I’ll say it again, I like to say, as long as you wear the shirt, less than 100%, I won’t allow it. It’s not my phrase. It came from the All Blacks and I saw that already 15, 16 years ago. A nice documentary about the All Blacks. And I kept that always for myself and that’s for each LFC player the same. And it’s for me the same. So that’s what we try to live. And that works out sometimes, unfortunately, not all the time, because we are human beings.
Mike Hughes: (12:35)
Yeah, and because you’re human beings and the players are, once Lee league trophies have been won for whatever era, quite often, there’s a let up in form. The form may be slightly waning a little bit. What can you do to guard against that happening with your group?
Jürgen Klopp: (12:57)
Never stop wanting it. Okay. I say it like this. As long as we stay humble and greedy, we have a good chance to be a really uncomfortable opponent. When you’re an uncomfortable opponent for each other team, you have a chance to win it. If you have a chance to win it, then you have to win it. So that’s how it is. As long as we stay clear with a lot of challenges. Life is constantly a challenge. And our challenge is now being champion, playing seven games against teams. They fight for everything. So we can show, we don’t run because we have to, we can show we run because we want to. And then next season people, you all will make, stories of the defending champion, blah blah blah, and all this kind of stuff. That’s why I say we will not defend anything. We will attack. And what we get for it, I have no idea.
Jürgen Klopp: (13:42)
But nothing changed because I, I feel it now. It was one of the best moments in my life, knowing the second, knowing that we are the champions of England. But it’s not that I have it constantly in myself now. I don’t have to remind myself, but it’s not that it’s carrying me through the day. The last big week after we had two days with what we tried to make sure that we got it now, all that being understood now what happened around us.
Jürgen Klopp: (14:10)
After that, since [inaudible 00:14:11] everything prepare Man City and with full focus that doesn’t mean that we’ll beat them. That just means we will be prepared. And that’s what we will be for the next season as well. That’s how it works. I don’t know another way. If there’s another way, maybe people will tell me, but I’ve learned when you think you reached the pinnacle, you are already on the way down. And we don’t feel that. Honestly, I can say 100% I don’t feel I’m finally satisfied. So it’s just another step. It’s a big one. Unbelievable big, but not the only thing I want to talk to the boys when I meet them in 20 years’ time.
Speaker 1: (14:51)
Okay. Thanks, Mike. We’re going to go to James from talkSPORT then to Ian Park from PA, and then we’re going to go to the embargo section as it stands at the moment. So, James, you’ll have to unmute yourself.
James from talkSPORT: (15:00)
Hi, Jürgen. Jürgen, you’ve said that Liverpool have got space for improvement, but what areas in particular do you think you can get better in?
Jürgen Klopp: (15:11)
You don’t have that long time actually here to talk about that. So many things where we can be more stable, but we can be more creative, where we can have better solutions, where we can react quicker, where we can see more, where we can be aware or that our awareness can be better. A lot of things. We have to react on the development of other teams, because we play one other team each three days or each week. And this team has their own idea and how we rank on that and how influential our game can be on them. Yeah. We have to prepare that and that’s all the things. When other teams change. We have to change. When other teams develop, we have to develop. The best way – you develop before the other teams develop. But it’s difficult. [inaudible 00:15:54] said.
Jürgen Klopp: (15:53)
The good thing is the consistency level we showed so far. So now the challenge is to keep that. That’s how it is. And that would be already development, to keep that over such a long period. So a lot of things, what we can do better, what we can do different, which is sometimes better as well, and what we can do even more consistent. And that’s what we have to ask ourselves for. That’s all. We are very demanding all with ourselves, so that will not be a problem. [inaudible 00:16:21] we are not tired. We are just in the middle of something and we want to go. That’s it.
James from talkSPORT: (16:27)
Okay, fantastic. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (16:29)
And then finally open, before we go to like quite brief, Ian from PA.
Ian from PA: (16:34)
Hi Jürgen. Just wanted to ask specifically with regard to tomorrow’s game. We’ve seen matches between yourselves and City over recent years, very intense because there’s usually a lot on the line. What are you expecting tomorrow? The title’s decided, the game behind closed doors, but what, what sort of atmosphere are you expecting in the match?
Jürgen Klopp: (16:56)
Intense. Because I saw City playing now already three times, I think they played more often but I saw them three times playing. And so that looked like City looks. Massively dominant, making the pitch big, using direction, preparing direction, mix up of long balls to prepare the smaller space and the other way around, small spaces to create a bigger space. It’s football and that’s what we want to see from our side as well. So you cannot defend City if you don’t play an intense game. And I think it’s difficult to defend us if you don’t play intense games. So that already gives us or makes clear how this game will be. I can’t see a game where two teams are not active and two teams are waiting for the final whistle. This will be a proper football game, 100%. There will always be a proper football game, for whatever reason. There is no need for being a final or something else. Unless we had one nil:nil. That would be a really unlikely result, to be honest. But we had one but they had to miss a penalty, right. Yeah.
Ian from PA: (18:08)
Yeah. Okay. Just lastly, can I just ask if there’s any specific team use for tomorrow night, any changes,
Jürgen Klopp: (18:17)
Ian from PA: (18:18)
Or injuries? Anything change last week?
Jürgen Klopp: (18:26)
No, not yet. Nothing. Or the one with Joel? Probably, and yeah, that’s not nice but that’s all for the moment.