Some of Jurgen Klopp's latest remarks will not fill Liverpool fans with too much confidence
In what may not come as music to the ears of Liverpool fans, Jurgen Klopp has conceded that, despite a thorough overhaul of the squad and the benefit of an extensive pre-season, he remains undecided as to what his best XI is.
Liverpool, by any stretch of the word, are a club in flux. Until today, 11 players departed Anfield, while six have arrived during the current window.
With Jon Flanagan off to Burnley on loan and Klopp admitting that it would be prudent for Christian Benteke to sample pastures new, the revolving door on Merseyside shall spin again.
Moreover, it is thought that Klopp will recruit a left back in the near future.
Klopp is a manager that prioritises adherence to detail almost above all else so, perhaps, it would be remiss to expect the new acquisitions to assimilate immediately.
That being said, Liverpool have contested seven matches over the last month, winning all but two. And, despite ending in a 2-1 defeat to Roma, their tour of America was largely successful.
However, with new goalkeeper Loris Karius suffering a broken hand stateside, the jaunt was not without cost.
Before a daunting trip to Arsenal for their Premier League opener a week from Sunday, the Reds take on Barcelona in Wembley tomorrow and Klopp’s former club Mainz just 24 hours later.
Even after banking more than twice the summer game time as, say, Manchester United, Klopp remains reticent in speculating as to what his best side could be by the time the serious business gets underway.
“Until now, there is no decision about the line-up,” he said.
“Hopefully we can make this decision next week and then it depends, too, on all the things; who played, what worked in each situation, what will work for the Arsenal game?
“Which fitness level for this player or this player? Because they are different. A few players, hopefully, go in the first week with five and a half weeks preseason, without injury.”
Aside from his devotion to tactical minutiae, the former Dortmund coach demands Stakhanovite levels of endurance from his players, which some attributed to Liverpool’s glut of injuries last term.
The likelihood is that he was hoping to avoid a repeat of such calamity when drafting in former Bayern Munich fitness coach Andreas Kornmayer.
Those who have clocked sufficient mileage and come through unscathed are obviously in the frame to feature against Gunners but, above all else, Klopp is hoping to regularly pick from a full complement for the foreseeable futture.
“That means they are, of course, in a better position,” he said of players who have completed a full pre-season.
“But Arsenal is only one game, and a few days later we have the next game and we can use this time again.
“Hopefully, we have the situation where we can really make the choice and don’t have to bring this 11 because we don’t have a choice.