Jurgen Klopp has lifted the lid on what gets him out of bed every day – and he insists winning trophies is not his main inspiration.
The Liverpool manager finally collected his first major honour as Reds boss back in June when his side defeated Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final.
Klopp’s men have since added the European Super Cup to their haul and can add the World Club Cup to their collection when they travel to Qatar in December.
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However, given the choice of a European repeat or seeing the club end their long wait to become champions of England, it’s clear many would choose Premier League title glory; owner John Henry has certainly made that his priority this season.
Klopp, on the other hand, while clearly an ambitious manager, admits improving his players and winning games is what drives him, as opposed to holding aloft trophies themselves.
Is there a Plan B? That such a question should even be asked in early September suggests Plan A – reminding the players that this is Man United, talking incessantly about 1999 and the Nou Camp and focusing on swashbuckling counter-attacking football – has not quite succeeded in restoring pride at Old Trafford. How surprising that a forward line built around fast breaks and transitions is finding it difficult to thrive on 57.8% possession – the second-highest average so far behind Manchester City. They used 46.2% of the ball at home to Chelsea to create nine chances and score four goals; 65.6%, 71.3% and 58.6% possession against Wolves, Crystal Palace and Southampton respectively has combined for just three goals. Precious few teams can afford to have only one way of playing, and England’s sixth-best is not one of them.
Titles are and were never my motivation, Klopp said at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.
I want to win every game and make my players better day by day. And then well see where that leads.
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We were very close last year. You lose only one game in the whole season, and its not enough, in the end, that was very bitter.
But it is also clear that with my team much is possible. And yes, the title in the Premier League would be a great endorsement for many years of hard work.
Liverpool will look to open up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League when they host Newcastle at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime, with Manchester City not in action until 5.30pm the same day.
Meanwhile, the president of their potential opponents at the World Club Cup has told Liverpool the prospect of facing them does not fill him with fear.
The Guinean endured a stop/start season in 2018/19 and has to yet play a minute this campaign – after picking up another injury in the buildup to the European Super Cup.
He has however been training at Melwood during this international break and it shouldnt be too long until his return to action.
Mane played with Keita in Austria at Salzburg, the side weve drawn in the Champions League – and spoke very highly of Liverpool when the midfielder was considering his next move.
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Since our days at Salzburg, he was always a good man, and a good friend to me, Mane told the Echo.
Hes such a great player, so I think everyone will see once he gets over his injures how important he will be for this club.
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First up, Keita needs to stay fit. His niggling injuries are really damaging to his chances of being selected regularly by Jurgen Klopp. Just ask Adam Lallana.
Secondly, he needs to play with confidence when he gets the opportunity and look to show us the attributes he displayed so vibrantly in Germany: dribbling, bursting through the middle, through-balls, long shots and interceptions.
At the moment, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum have three spots in midfield fairly tied down, so Keita needs to perform above the latter pair to secure one of the no.8 roles.
He also has Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to contend with – so earning himself a spot in Klopps superb outfit is not going to be easy.