Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp discussed his side’s participation in the Audi Cup and provided an update on the injury situation as his side gear up for their Audi Cup opener against Bayern Munich.
Klopp says he has been very happy with the club’s training base in Germany, where they have been situated since last Wednesday.
“Everything is really nice. It’s close to here and we had the invitation to the Audi Cup, so that’s really good.
“We’ve been here since Wednesday and we played in Berlin on Saturday, we’ve been training a lot and we’ve got the Audi Cup, then Dublin (against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday) and it’s very important for us. It’s a really important test game for us – we have a hard season in front of us.”
Klopp is looking forward to facing Bayern Munich, a side who were his main competitors for the Bundesliga title in his former job at Borussia Dortmund.
“It’s no problem – I think I won my last game here in a spectacular penalty shoot-out! We played Saturday in Berlin and I’m always happy to be here, I’ve said that many times. I’m with a different club here now that has nothing to do with Dortmund.
“I think the pitch will be in very good condition, we have four really good teams playing here. The football that has been played in the last few years has been absolutely great so it’s a great challenge for us. I think every team will have to put out two teams, and that’s more important than my memories from here.”
The Liverpool manager once again poured cold water on suggestions that Philippe Coutinho could leave for Barcelona this summer.
“If you say he is not available to be sold, where is the interpretation? The word ‘not’ means there is no interpretation. There is nothing new.”
📺 Klopp's Pre-Bayern Recap
• Great challenge ✅
• Championship is the aim 🏆
• Gomez 🚑
• Coutinho is NOT for sale ❌ pic.twitter.com/wz4j4BKzqu
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) July 31, 2017
Asked on his ambitions for the season ahead, Klopp added:
“We will be playing for the championship. That’s what we did last season, we were fourth, and you don’t start a season without any ambitions.
“We have a very good team, we had a bit of bad luck last season and I think we can play a little bit better. Let’s hope that everything will work very well. We have to work very hard and we’re doing that and it’s very important to see what we can achieve tomorrow, against Bayern.
“They are an absolutely top team, it doesn’t matter which team they play. In my experience they’re always a tough team to play and I’m excited to see what team he (Ancelotti) will have.”
Earlier on Monday it was confirmed that Joe Gomez will not be able to take part in either of Liverpool’s Audi Cup games due to a minor knee injury. Nathaniel Clyne is also absent and hasn’t been able to take part in the majority of Liverpool’s pre-season matches.
Asked if he was worried about his teams defensive injuries, Klopp said:
“It’s not a big injury (for Gomez), he just sprained it a little bit. Not everyone has had their (full) preparations yet so we still have a few problems there, but so far everything is looking good.
“It’s quite a challenge to see what we can do with these players, it’s a little bit of a puzzle, but we will do our best. We’re going to train at 5pm today again and then, after that, I will know who’s available.”
Liverpool will be hoping to qualify for this season’s Champions League group stages and take part in more matches against opposition such as Bayern Munich. Asked if this friendly could be good preparation, Klopp said:
“We don’t have to make it any bigger than it is. In one-and-a-half weeks we’re starting against Watford, we can’t forget that. So every game is very important, but it’s not something to look at like that.
“If we do win, great, but it’s just a preparation game, I don’t think you’ll learn that much out of a game like that, that has nothing to do with the Champions League as such. It’s the top, top level, that’s where we want to be and so we’ll have to see how we go.”