Jurgen Klopp explains Anfield pact he made with Liverpool stars
Jurgen Klopp has no fear his stars will lose their drive for success – after revealing they struck a pact to make their time at Anfield the best days of their lives.
The Kop boss takes his champions to Aston Villa on Sunday with Liverpool not letting up on their intensity and desire to steamroller all-comers.
And having won the Champions League two seasons ago and their first Premier League crown in the last campaign Liverpool's thirst for glory is still a powerful motivation.
But Klopp's not surprised at the determination of him or his players – and traces the desire back to a team meeting when they vowed to live their best lives at Anfield.
“We agreed a while ago that we would try to make this the best time of our lives as long as we are together and that is what we are still doing.
“So I am not in any doubt at all about the desire and hunger of my boys.
“Because it is a little bit my job as well to keep that going and I have known myself long enough to know that I can do it differently.
“So that means we are on the safe side. If we don’t succeed, it will not be because we don’t want it with all we have.
“The other teams, they can be better, in football and in life it’s like this, but it’s not because of hunger or desire or greed or whatever.
“No, no, we are still in the right mood.”
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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.
In terms of transfers the Reds have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara and Wolves' Diogo Jota has arrived too, in a shock deal worth a potential £45million.
Youngster Ki-Jana Hoever is set to head to Wolves in a £10million deal, while Gini Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There's a lot to keep track of.
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Liverpool's stars begin a hectic month-long timetable of domestic, European and international fixtures with many of Klopp's players facing ELEVEN games in the next 35 days in all competitions.
It's a gruelling schedule which will place a heavy burden on players who are more at risk of burnout and injury than ever before.
And that's why Klopp has been forced to defend his decision to play Virgil van Dijk in the Carabao Cup defeat by Arsenal.
The Dutch defender, and striker Mo Salah, played for an hour in the game which ended in a penalty shoot-out win for the Gunners.
Klopp said: “Most of the boys want to play each game. Virgil had no problem.
“The specific situation gave us a need to have all our big guns, as it were. Can you imagine my image with ignoring cups if I'd have played two kids in the last line?
“Having two kids in the last line would have been too tricky. We wanted to win the game and could have, but we didn't. It was possible and that's why we did it.
“The actual plan was 45 minutes and that was no problem. It is if it gets to say 80 minutes and that is when it gets really intense but until then it is not a problem at all.
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“I'm careful of over-using Virgil definitely, but that goes for all my players.
“I am happy nothing happened, but the situation was that we don't make the fixtures.
“We get the fixtures and we play them. Sometimes we have the choice of six or seven players for two positions and sometimes we don't.
“Sometimes there are no perfect solutions. For the Arsenal game we thought that was the best solution.”
Klopp's main selection headache at Villa is whether to give new striker Diogo Jota, a £41million signing from Wolves, his first Premier League start with Sadio Mane isolating after returning a positive Coronavirus test.
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