Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists defeat in the Capital One Cup final has not influenced his opinion of the players he has at his disposal despite admitting he is already planning for next season.
The loss on penalties to Manchester City, whom they meet again in the Premier League on Wednesday, was a blow but the Reds boss is adamant it will not overly-affect his long-term view of the squad.
That includes goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who even Klopp admits could have done better with Fernandinho’s shot for the opening goal.
“I didn’t read the newspapers but everyone told me there is a little bit of rumour about [him],” he said.
“I would lie if I said the goal we [conceded] in the final was ‘unholdable’ but Simon knows it too.
“I am not sure it is a mistake but it was not perfect. That is football players’ lives, especially goalkeepers’ lives.
“But on the other hand I cannot say absolutely anything negative about Simon.
“Since I’ve been here he has had to handle a lot of pressure and I think there was any day when someone outside Melwood has been 100 percent satisfied with what he did but he has had a lot of good games for us.
“He is old enough and experienced enough and together we have to handle this situation and together we have to go through.
“Even when it is a final I cannot make final judgements and say ‘So now I see I can trust him, and him I can trust always’ – that is not how life and football is.
“At the end when we have to make decisions there is a lot of information and maybe it is 500, 600, things to think about and then only one of them is how we played in the final.
“I always learn about my players but not only in finals.”
Klopp, Press Association Sport understands, is set to be handed the biggest transfer fund of any Liverpool manager this summer.
It is likely to signal a significant overhaul of the squad but the German is already working on his plans for the close season.
“We will plan for next season, that is clear. We have to wait for the right moment and we have to think about a lot of things,” he added.
“I cannot say we are close to this decision or that decision but we work the whole day and it is not only preparing for games.
“We have to plan the future and that is what we are doing.”
Klopp’s immediate plans involve selecting a team for the visit of City having sustained more injuries at Wembley.
Midfielder Lucas Leiva, who played in central defence in the final, has been ruled out with a muscle injury sustained in actually taking his saved spot-kick.
Centre-back Mamadou Sakho will continue to be assessed after he was forced off in the first half with a head injury, while Klopp will be cautious with injury-prone striker Daniel Sturridge after he struggled with cramp having played 120 minutes.
“It doesn’t look too good with Lucas. He had problems with the muscle when he shot the penalty and he has got some more problems so I think he is not available,” said Klopp.
“With Mama I don’t know exactly; we had to make a decision in the moment at the sideline and I think it was the right decision.
“I’ve not heard anything until now about any real issue but I have to wait for the final judgement of the doctor.
“We don’t want to go risking [anything] tomorrow.”
Liverpool comfortably beat City 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium back in November and, although a win against them at Anfield would have a significant bearing on the title race, Klopp is not interested in the wider issues.
“If someone wants to be champion they should be champion without our help, our points,” he added.
“I don’t think about who can win the league in this moment – my only thought is how we can win tomorrow.”
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