Jurgen Klopp was back in front of the cameras as he looked ahead to Monday’s game, but focus was largely on investment, squad updates and the looming exit of Julian Ward.
Here are four key points from the manager as he previewed the Boxing Day clash at Aston Villa:
Surprise over Ward exit
The shock news of sporting director Julian Ward handing in his resignation came in November, a surprise not only to fans but for Klopp as well.
“It was a surprise when Julian told me, but we will work completely normal together until the day he leaves,” Klopp said.
“He is 100 percent committed, we’ve never had a problem. Everything is fine. He told us I think after the Southampton game, I was surprised but it’s his decision.”
It’s been just months since he took over the role from Michael Edwards.
Time for a quick squad update
Injuries and illness have again proved a nuisance for Klopp and the boss provided a few updates on his squad ahead of Monday’s game:
- “Milly will be out for a couple of games” – hamstring
- “Same for Bobby [but] he’s already on the better side of it” – calf
- “Virg trained completely normal so will be there [at Villa]”
- “Trent will hopefully be better” after illness
- And Konate’s “first session will be the 27th”
Every reason for optimism
The trip to Villa is the first of five match in 19 days and Liverpool have a lot of catching up to do, a fight that Klopp is embracing.
“We are really looking forward to what’s coming up, but we know it’s intense and there are no guarantees out there,” he said.
“We consider ourselves in punching distance and we have to chase, that is what we will do. We have left a gap between us and there are much more exciting positions in the table.
“There is reason for optimism, definitely.”
Any January movement?
With this the first pre-match press conference for the manager since November, questions about the January window and future investment were always to pop up.
“I don’t know the amount of money it would take, but I’m not against investment, to be honest, that’s clear,” Klopp said in light of Jamie Carragher’s £250 million claim.
“We will see what the future brings, nobody knows that in the moment, but I’m still convinced the future is bright for us.
“But in the moment, we have to sort the situation, nothing to do with investment or whatever, we have to sort the present, and that’s what we’re working on.
“January, in our situation, is a window where we always say we’re always prepared, that’s how it is.”