Wednesday 26 June 2019

Klopp hits back after criticism over backtracking on transfers

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: PA Wire
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: PA Wire

Chris Bascombe

Jose Mourinho has aimed a dig at Jurgen Klopp over the £75m deal for Virgil Van Dijk, saying the Liverpool manager has backtracked on claims he would not pay "crazy" transfer fees.

Mourinho reminded Klopp of comments he made when Manchester United paid £95m for Paul Pogba last summer.

Klopp suggested he "wanted to do it differently" rather than sanction such a high fee.

"If I was one of you, I would ask him about his comments about one year ago," said Mourinho.

"Jurgen, when he arrived at Liverpool, trusted a lot his quality as a good coach, which he is. He trusted a lot his work, he told a few words and I think now he realised that is not enough to be the champion, to win the Champions League, to win trophies.

"He needs more so you can see Liverpool with Naby Keita, (the deal)that they already did for next summer.

"Van Dijk is a player who can also play Champions League so they realise they have to go to the crazy levels of the market because, if they don't, if they offer only £40m, Southampton doesn't sell them the player."

Klopp admitted it was "not nice" to pay so much, but defended his shift, blaming transfer inflation.

"You ask is it possible, they give you a number and then you think about it or stop thinking about it or do it," said Klopp.

"A fee of £75m at this moment is very good for Southampton. They want to improve their squad as well.

"Do you think when they go to a club - if the player is not a free agent - those clubs will be accepting £5m for a replacement?

"That is how it is. It's not nice, but that's the market, that's the world. We have to adapt.

"It started a few years ago. If you cannot do it you have to look for other solutions but in the market for centre-halves at this moment there are a lot of interesting centre-halves that have clauses. There is not one with a lower clause.

"If you do not want to do it, do not do it. We had an opportunity to do it and that is why he will be a Liverpool player.

"Do I like it? No, because it puts more pressure on everything. That is why I said as a Liverpool community we have to ignore it immediately. Let other people talk about it.

"I got a few messages from obvious Liverpool fans and they say 'congratulations'. But I am sure there are people out there who will say, 'That's too much money'. And it's how it is.

"So it's not to change or make a statement with a transfer. I don't think so. I don't believe in that really that much. A statement is the quality of our squad in the moment."

Klopp believes that few will reference the fee should Van Dijk perform.

"When Mohamed Salah came in people thought it was too much and now they think, 'Wow, what a catch'," he said.

"We can talk about it now, and I really respect it about the price. But I have pretty much forgotten it already.

"It's done and it's not important for us. We have good player and we don't have to sell anybody because of that. So fair play to our owners that they are ambitious."

Klopp claims there is no correlation between the fee paid for Van Dijk and possible sales, offering a swift "no" when asked if he now had to recoup the funds.

Barcelona are expected to return for Philippe Coutinho, but it is unclear if they could afford the midfielder.

Somewhat tellingly, Klopp suggested defenders are now valued at "a third of the price of attackers".

"The only thing I am interested in is how is Phil playing at the moment," said Klopp.

"I was really happy about the last few performances and about his impact. He showed his character in the games and in the training sessions. That was spot on. It was really good."

Several Liverpool players could be on the move in January, however, with Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings the subject of interest.

"The first thing we have to make sure is that we have the squad we need for the second part of the season," Klopp said.

"We had a good situation so far in the squad and that is what we need to have again in the second half of the season.

"The club needs to come first. We will see what happens. Nothing is decided so far.

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