Klopp welcomes healthy left-back competition but Robertson still first choice

In Kostas Tsimikas, Andy Robertson has serious competition at left-back and Jurgen Klopp has welcomed the situation, but at the end of the day, “Robbo is Robbo.”

With Liverpool having competed across four different competitions to date, they’ve needed the depth that has often alluded them at left-back.

Robertson has made 11 starts and Tsimikas nine to date and having the dual threat has afforded the flexibility to manage minutes and cover for injury, negating Klopp’s concern from the 2020 pre-season.

“Robbo and Trent, let’s say, they cannot play every season 50-something games—it would limit their careers, to be honest, even when they come through [fit],” Klopp said.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 15, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp and Andrew Robertson after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC and AC Milan at Anfield. (Pic by Paul Currie/Propaganda)

And with the Greece international now pushing Robertson, who has not yet been at his barnstorming best, questions continue to be posed to Klopp about the situation.

As ever, the manager was pragmatic with his answer but was eager to laud Robertson and all but state he remains the clear first choice – and there was even a mention for young Owen Beck.

“He’s pushing but I don’t see it as pushing in that sense. Robbo is Robbo and it’s a bit strange that people constantly forget how good Robbo is just because Kostas is good as well,” Klopp said.

“Thank god Kostas is good as well, imagine that we would have a proper problem there so it’s much better than it was before when we had no real solution.

“[James] Milly had to play there, which he did exceptionally well, and now we have different solutions, which is really good. And we have Owen Beck coming up, a real prospect.

“That’s good for us but I don’t doubt Robbo at all, we share the intensity between the two of them. Really happy with the development of Kostas, really happy but Robbo is Robbo.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) celebrates with Kostas Tsimikas after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I don’t know if he’s had drops in his performance but it hasn’t changed my mind because you cannot trust people today and then don’t trust them the next day.

“It’s not a difficult decision to make but really that Kostas shows up like he showed up. Robbo needed half a year, Kostas needed about a year but now we see how good he really is. Good news for us.”