HERE TO STAY: Klopp dismisses talk over future ahead of Arsenal clash
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists his time at the club is “far from being over” but is in no mood to discuss his long-term future.
At his first press conference as Aston Villa boss this week former Reds captain Steven Gerrard – who has been touted as Klopp’s successor – said he would be delighted if the German signed a deal for life at Anfield.
Klopp’s current contract runs until 2024, at which point he will have been at the club for nine years – his longest stay anywhere – and that fact is enough for him.
“I saw Stevie say a lot of nice and smart things,” he said.
“I don’t have to think about these kind of things at the moment thank God because we are in the middle of this season and that’s all we are focused on.
“No other manager gets asked that often about what happens in three or four years. I didn’t think about and I don’t want to think about it.
“It’s all fine how it is. It’s over when it’s over – but it’s far away from being over so let’s focus on that.”
Klopp’s concentration is on the visit of Arsenal after his side’s unbeaten start to the season ended last time out at West Ham.
The Liverpool manager’s preparations have not been helped after captain Jordan Henderson and Andrew Robertson returned home from international duty with minor injuries which have so far prevented them training with the full squad and late decisions will be made on their participation.
“I hate international breaks. Absolutely. It wasn’t helpful,” Klopp added.
“It didn’t help from an injury point of view. If we had played a week later (after West Ham) our players would have had two days off.
“With the international days they train pretty much through all this because the coaches have their own targets and they think they have to do physical work with them as well.
“We all know we need to stay in front of Arsenal. To stay in and around the top of the league, you need results and we didn’t have enough good results in the last few weeks.
“We know we have to perform, we know we have to fight. That’s pretty much the most important information probably: we have to fight because Arsenal are a really good football team.”
One player who has actually benefited from joining up with his national team is full-back Neco Williams.
The 20-year-old has played more minutes for Wales this season than he has Liverpool and impressed in the recent World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Belgium.
National team boss Rob Page, looking ahead to a World Cup play-off in March, has suggested players like Williams need to be thinking about getting more pitch time when the transfer window reopens.
Klopp is reluctant to send the defender out on loan but the PA news agency understands the club are bracing themselves for a bid for the player.
Last January Southampton expressed a serious interest in the right-back, who signed a five-year contract in 2020, and there were more suitors – including Burnley – in the summer.
As the back-up to Trent Alexander-Arnold and with academy prospect Conor Bradley continuing to impress, sources at Liverpool suggest they will have a genuine decision to make on whether to cash in on Williams.
“We are a pretty good football team, it’s not that easy to get into the first team in his maybe natural position – I’m not sure if really right-back is the natural position,” said Klopp.
“I can 100 per cent understand that my colleague from Wales thinks it makes sense that they play (for their club) but they can qualify for the World Cup with a lot of players who are not first choice in their teams.
“Just going on loan you never know where he will end up. First and foremost, you have to make sure you fight where you are because if you don’t sort your problems where you are, you will carry them with you to the next club.
“It’s all about pushing and that’s what he is doing, so he is not doing anything wrong, and then it’s about the opportunity coming up.”
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