Video: Jurgen Klopp on centre-back issues & Liverpool making the “last step” after pre-season

8 August 2018

Jurgen Klopp has urged his Liverpool side to “make the last step” after a productive pre-season that saw the Reds win seven, draw one and lose one.

A 3-1 victory over Torino at Anfield on Tuesday night capped a positive summer for Klopp and his squad, with goals coming from Roberto Firmino, Georginio Wijnaldum and Daniel Sturridge.

With key names returning in form, new signings settling in well and fringe figures including Sturridge making their mark they can head into 2018/19 confident.

Liverpool take on West Ham on Sunday afternoon as they begin their Premier League campaign, and Klopp is relishing the beginning of his third full season in charge.

“Now we have to make the last step, we have to bring ourselves into the competition, in a championship mood, really being 100 percent focused in all the situations,” he told reporters.

“Obviously in the offensive department we are able to do some nice things but that’s only one part of the game.

“We have a few days [to prepare], I like that.

“But I’m happy we can start at the weekend because pre-season is good but the season is even better.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 7, 2018: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp’s biggest issue ahead of the weekend arguably comes at the heart of defence, with Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan struggling with injury and Dejan Lovren only returning to training on Monday.

But in Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Phillips, the manager is content with his options, heaping praise on his young addition.

“I’m happy that we came through the pre-season so far, so good,” he added.

“You saw tonight we don’t really struggle with centre-halves, they are all in and only have little things. But for tonight, the two available played.

“Nat Phillips played an outstanding pre-season and now he played the game tonight, 70-80 minutes at Anfield for the first team.

“It is really nice to see how he developed.”

Klopp also confirmed Gomez should be fit for Sunday, while Jordan Henderson is “in a really good shape,” though the captain may need to wait for the trip to Crystal Palace on August 20.

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