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Age profile and will to win means Klopp can expect repeat performance


Liverpool’s leader Jordan Henderson

Liverpool’s leader Jordan Henderson

Liverpool’s leader Jordan Henderson

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes there is room for improvement in his squad even after their runaway maiden Premier League title win.

A 5-3 win over Chelsea was the ideal warm-up to the trophy presentation party which followed at Anfield, with injured captain Jordan Henderson finally getting his hands on the one piece of silverware which has been missing for 30 years.

Liverpool effectively had the title sewn up in March before the coronavirus lockdown and head into the final weekend with an 18-point gap to Manchester City.

Judging by the plans for another celebratory party back at the team's hotel base in Formby, Sunday's trip to Newcastle may be something of a let down, but Klopp expects his players to come out fighting again when the new campaign begins.

More specifically that refers to the likes of Naby Keita, who impressed against Chelsea in another one of his good but sporadic performances since his move from RB Leipzig two years ago.

"Each player who played now the majority of the games can improve, that's how it is," said Klopp.

"The age group they are in, making better decisions, being clearer in whatever they do.

"Other players, they didn't play that much: Naby is a good example of that, (academy graduate) Curtis Jones is a good example of that - although we don't want to make it too big but he looks like kind of ready as well - means we have space and we have potential for improvement and we will work on that.

"We had a party, then we have to recover, then we play Newcastle. We have 96 points and it would obviously be really nice if we could get 99. It will be difficult but who cares - it was very difficult against Chelsea because they were so good and the boys did it anyway."

"Special. Absolutely special. We don't have to compare as we never have done it before.

"We all know it could have been different. It could have been worse, for example, if we never won the game.

"The boys gave us the opportunity to have a really special night. I think a lot of people thought before the game one team fights for the Champions League, the other team is maybe already on the beach.

"But these boys are so special. I could not be more proud. Throwing a performance like this in on the pitch tonight ... it was an open game but nice, nice goals.

"Incredible goals, super footballing moments. I loved the game. We could enjoy it and we will enjoy the rest of the night."

Despite prior warning, thousands of fans gathered outside the ground and let off fireworks as the trophy presentation took place inside Anfield.

The squad themselves were heading off to a private party after the game but Klopp said: "We should all celebrate at home, drink what you want, prepare for a party when this bullsh** virus is over."

Captain Jordan Henderson lifted the trophy, surrounded by the squad and Klopp and his backroom staff on a specially-erected podium on the Kop.

"It was absolutely great. Absolutely great. It made it even more special that the families could be in the stadium for the trophy lift, they were not allowed in for the game," added Klopp.

"You want to share these moments with your loved ones - I had my loved ones around me with the staff and the players.

"You stand on the stage and there's no-one in the stadium - not no-one but not as many as you imagine - but the people who organised it made the absolute best of it.

"I was never before on the Kop, it was pretty special and I think it made sense with people not in to use it to celebrate together."

Virgil van Dijk, captaining the team in the absence of Henderson, believes the mindset which has developed in the Liverpool dressing room means there is every chance they will push on again.

"We always find a way to win, we've been doing it all season," the Holland international told Sky Sports.

"We had big results - Aston Villa away and Wolves away - those kind of moments where we just dig deep, find a way and got the result that we needed.

"It's the mentality of the group of players that we have, the hard work that we put in during training every day and this group of players is very special.

"We're out there on the pitch, everyone gets along with each other, on the pitch everyone is there to help each other, everyone wants to fight for each other.

"That's the least that the Liverpool fans want to see from us and that's what we all want from ourselves, too."