Jürgen Klopp has said the financial fallout from Covid-19 could “pause” Liverpool’s transfer plans but he believes his title-winning squad will improve regardless next season thanks to emerging academy talent.
Klopp admits there is uncertainty over his transfer budget and that incomings and outgoings will be affected. He is extremely confident of keeping the Premier League champions intact, however, and feels players such us Neco Williams, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott can provide back-up for a team that demolished the competition this season.
“I am very confident that we can keep the team together but all the rest of the planning is ongoing without knowing,” the manager said. “We have no idea at the moment. Nobody knows how the future will be, which is very strange. I don’t know when the new season will start.
“Three months ago nobody knew anything about how it would be and now we act a little bit like everything will be fine again. It is a little bit early to guess that. And in football now we get confronted with how much do you want to spend? How much can you spend if you don’t know how much you can have? That is exactly the situation.
“It is about how influential the coronavirus crisis will be on all financial parts of life. It’s not only football. We all will pay a bill in the end. Hopefully it is over soon but nobody knows exactly how big the bill will be. I think it’s completely normal in this moment that we wait a little bit longer with some decisions or just say: ‘We pause and try it again with this [squad].’ We should not start taking for granted it all will be fine.”
Liverpool cooled longstanding interest in Timo Werner during lockdown, allowing Chelsea to sign the RB Leipzig striker for £47.5m, although the club maintain that was not a purely financial decision. Klopp has always been keen to leave a pathway open for academy talent – Trent Alexander-Arnold being the prime example – and believes uncertainty in the market offers opportunity for more to follow.
“Covid has influenced both sides, ins and out,” he said. “It’s just not likely that it will be the most busy summer in the world. But maybe at a later point in the year, if the transfer window is still open, we will know more. But this squad – just look at it. It is not a squad you have to change now and say: ‘OK, we need this position and this position.’ What we want is to create our transfers internally. So now, the first glimpses of Neco Williams. Bring the boys up. Curtis, Harvey, Ki-Jana [Hoever], Sepp [van den Berg], Yasser [Larouci], Leighton [Clarkson], Jake Cain: all these boys have done really well.
“We want to strengthen this squad and this squad is strong. The problem is how do you improve a strong squad on the transfer market? It works with money, obviously, but it never works only with money. You have to be creative and we try to be creative. We try to find solutions internally. And there is still a lot to come. We have three or four players who can make big, big steps. People will be afraid that these boys will get lazy [after winning the league]. These boys, like they showed against Crystal Palace, cannot get lazy. It is just not in their nature.”
Klopp believes the 4-0 dismantling of Palace last week demonstrated perfectly why Liverpool were able to secure the club’s first title for 30 years with a record seven matches to spare. “The Palace game sums it up, sums us up, because all of what these boys did, they did for the club, for the people and for what we stand for. Nobody was there but we were still together. I really wouldn’t have thought it was possible to play like that, in this situation, with the Everton game three days before which was like: ‘Didn’t like that too much, are we really where we want to be?’
“Then you play this game and it really sums us up because it is like they wear the Liverpool shirt and go with all they have. Whenever, wherever, which time, whatever necessary, they go. And I love that. That is what brought us into the position we are in – it is all in this game. Eighty-sixth minute, losing the ball, chasing it down, winning it back and shooting on the Palace goal like you have never scored before. Such desire. That was the moment when I thought: ‘Yes, we will be champions.’ It was the perfect moment.”