Jurgen Klopp warns Liverpool players changes are on the way - but Steven Gerrard won't be coming back
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has issued his Liverpool squad with a five-week deadline to prove they belong at the club.
Klopp is preparing for his toughest match yet since replacing Brendan Rodgers at Anfield as the Reds take on Premier League leaders Manchester City this weekend, with the Premier League set to resume after the international break.
Klopp is looking to make changes to his side in the January transfer window as well as at the end of the season as he looks to stamp his mark on the team that Rodgers spent three years shaping to his liking, and the German has warned that time is running out for Liverpool’s fringe players to prove their worth.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s evening kick-off at the Etihad, Klopp said: “We will have the possibility to change some things in January and in the summer but at this moment we have made no decisions because we don’t have to make them yet.
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“The players know this. It is always the same that at one point in the season you have to make a decision about them.
“We are at a time when they can collect positive arguments and say: ‘okay, we want to work together’.
“I don’t need to say this to them, they know it. In this moment we have made no decisions so I have time to judge.
“To make a final judgement on them I need more time. I know about the business of course.
“We have time and we will see what is possible and what is not possible.
“We will see what’s necessary and what’s not necessary, that’s how we work.”
One major problem for Klopp though is that he has been without key players since arriving on Merseyside. Daniel Sturridge has played just one game under Klopp and three games in total this season, and the striker needs to prove that he gain regain and sustain his full fitness to prove in order to be part of Klopp’s long-term plans.
Sturridge could be in the frame to return against City this weekend, with his last outing coming at the start of October against Everton on the day that Rodgers was sacked. However, with Mamadou Sakho out for possibly the rest of the year, Dejan Lovren will come back into the side despite incurring the wrath of the Kop faithful for his performances of late.
Klopp will stand by the Croatia international though, and insists that he has done a “good job” since he took the reins.
“With Dejan, there will be absolutely no problem,” he said.
“These two guys – Skrtel and Lovren – are healthy and everything is good. Dejan has done a really good job since I’ve come in here.
“I saw his first game for Liverpool - it was against Dortmund, when we lost by four! He was brilliant on this day.
“I’d heard not the best things about him since but during my time here he’s looked strong and everything is okay.
“As long as these two guys are feeling good we don’t have a big problem.
“Mamadou is not 20 weeks out, it will be earlier than that so that’s good for us.”
Klopp also revealed that he met with former Liverpool captain and club legend Steven Gerrard this week, and while he praised the midfielder and reiterated that he is free to train with the club to stay fit ahead of the new Major League Soccer season next year, he stressed that there are no plans for Gerrard to return to the Liverpool squad.
“He is a really, really good person. I enjoyed our time together and we spoke about many things,” Klopp added.
“He doesn’t want to play next week or train next week – he wants to enjoy his holiday.
"If he wants to train, of course, he can, no question. He can use Melwood and then go back to LA and train and play. Then it is really far away.”
(© Independent News Service)
Independent News Service