Jurgen Klopp covered plenty of topics as he spoke to reporters ahead of Liverpool vs. Newcastle, including the vaccine status of his squad and the future of Joe Gomez.
Here are six things we took from Klopp’s press conference at Kirkby…
Strong words on vaccines
Klopp has long been a staunch backer of the COVID-19 vaccine, and spoke in support of the new measures put in place across the Premier League.
He also revealed that his squad and staff were all set to receive their booster jab, but would not be drawn on if vaccine status would impact whether or not he signed a particular player.
“I didn’t think for a second what we would do in a situation like that. Because I didn’t have to yet,” he said.
“In the moment I will have to think about it then we have to make decisions.
“If you sign a player, you sign a player for plenty of reasons and if that will be one of them, I don’t know yet.”
No “secrets” as coach moves to Newcastle
It was a timely move for Liverpool’s former head of post-match and elite player development analysis Mark Leyland this week, as he joined Newcastle as first-team coach analyst.
The opportunity to join close friend Eddie Howe’s coaching staff, rather than filling a straightforward analyst role at Liverpool, was too tempting to pass up.
And Leyland left with Klopp’s blessing, with the manager dismissing the prospect of delaying the move until after Liverpool played Newcastle.
“Mark doesn’t know our lineup for tomorrow! He knows how we play football, but I think if anyone with a football brain has a closer look they will know how we play football,” Klopp said.
“There’s now not too many secrets anymore. We were happy to let him use this opportunity, and it is an opportunity for him.
“Good people should be treated in a good way, and that’s what we did with Mark.”
Bobby’s back, Jones is close
Footage from Liverpool’s training session on Tuesday evening saw the return of Curtis Jones, while Roberto Firmino joined Diogo Jota as part of the attacking ranks.
“Bobby trained completely normal yesterday, so I would say he is in contention,” Klopp later revealed.
“Curtis had his first partial session with the team, so he’s not far off.
“Timing-wise could not be better, getting two players back of this calibre is obviously good news. So that’s it.”
Good news indeed!
No loan for Gomez
In Klopp’s own words, “it was obviously not the best year” for Joe Gomez, who has spent the majority of 2021 on the treatment table.
When he has been fit, as is now the case, the centre-back has barely featured, finding himself fourth choice behind Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and now new signing Ibrahima Konate.
There have been muted suggestions that Gomez could even head out on loan in January, but Klopp has dismissed all talk.
“I have no plans to give anybody on loan in the winter,” the manager said.
“I am not the driving force, let me say it like this. Nobody came to me and asked me ‘can I go somewhere?’.
“Joe is now only back for a proper week or so, because of the circumstances he could be involved in the squad, but he needs still time, he still needs time to train, to get where he has been before.”
Fake news for Matip
Earlier in the week, it was claimed that Matip would consider coming out of retirement for Cameroon – and could even join the squad at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations.
It always seemed fanciful, and Klopp has now revealed it was, in fact, fake news.
“He didn’t, he doesn’t, consider it. I spoke to him, asked him and he said ‘no’,” he said.
“That’s just one of the news out there in the world with nothing behind, let me say it like this.”
“Nothing to say” on AFCON!
Finally, Klopp was asked a series of questions on the upcoming AFCON, following claims on Wednesday morning that the tournament was to be cancelled.
As it stands, the AFCON will go ahead in Cameroon, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita all expected to join their national teams for January 9.
“There’s really nothing to say. Real authorities have to decide this kind of thing,” Klopp said, when asked about the reports of a possible cancellation.
“I have no idea how the situation is around the world exactly, that’s how it is.”