Jurgen Klopp refuses to set title target but is pleased with Liverpool progress
Published 10/05/2016 | 17:16
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he has no timetable to make the club league champions again but is confident if they maintain their current progress they will be on track.
Wednesday's visit of Chelsea, the deposed Barclays Premier League title holders, pits two sides who would have expected to be challenging for the top this year but are instead in eighth and ninth respectively.
The German promised when he arrived in mid-October that he would win titles at Anfield but has set himself no time-limits on that and his only requirement is the team keeps on improving.
"I'm not too interested in when Chelsea can next win the title and I have no idea when we can but I promise we will try everything to build on the base of this season," said Klopp, who is preparing for his 50th match in charge.
"We can get sixth position, it isn't the biggest success in the history of Liverpool, but everyone interested in Liverpool can see the good signs and we will build on it.
"We have to improve and I am sure we will. A lot of things need to be perfect for a really good season.
"I'm really looking forward to next season, to pre-season, but this season we are still looking for what we can get."
Klopp has one eye already on next season and plans are well under way for that but he brushed aside suggestions he would be having a clear-out in the summer to prepare for it.
And he dismissed the latest speculation linking Christian Benteke with a £25million move to West Ham.
"I read transfer rumours in October. We work the whole day and of course we work on the squad for next year," he added.
"Of course we think about transfers, we think about everything, but a lot of rumours are really far away from the actual thing.
"It is really funny when you are involved. Sometimes I've never heard of the player who has been linked with Liverpool."
Klopp stressed performances in the match against Chelsea would have no bearing on his thinking about who should stay or remain but he is likely to bring back the majority of players who featured last week in the Europa League semi-final win over Villarreal and were rested at the weekend.
It is then a balancing act for their final league match at West Brom on Sunday before the Europa League final against Sevilla next Wednesday.
"We had a few changes in the last game and most of the players who play tomorrow will be in good physical shape after a normal week Thursday to Wednesday," he said.
"I've learned to rotate; I'm not the world champion at this but I'm not too bad, and we will be ready 100 per cent for the final.
"We cannot wait for the final because then you will not be in the best shape.
"Sevilla changed 11 positions in their last game. They are already preparing for the final but we cannot do this because we are not in a fixed position [in the league].
"I would prefer if Thursday next week, we have won two games against Chelsea and West Brom and we are heading back to Liverpool with the cup - that would be all we want but it doesn't work like this.
"If we lose the two next games I will go to Basle still confident we can win this game.
"There is no fixed rule which says if you win your last two games you will win your final."
Klopp has been boosted by captain Jordan Henderson's return to outdoor training after a knee ligament injury last month.
It will be a race for him to be fit for the Europa League final but the German is adamant he will be fine for Euro 2016 with England.
"It is really good news on Hendo. We had to rest him with his injury for a long time and he could not do a lot," he said.
"We tried everything to avoid surgery and the surgeon has said it is not necessary. Yesterday he trained, not with the team, and it looks good. It was only passing and running but it's looking good step-by-step.
"It's only nine days until the final so not sure about that but 100 per cent he will be fit for the Euros. That's good, but for our games we are not sure."