LONDON – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp admitted that his side are a little under-done as they prepare for this weekend’s Community Shield against Manchester City.
Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Alisson only return to training late yesterday while Sadio Mane will miss Sunday’s Wembley clash after playing with Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations.
“I don’t want to find excuses before we play them but we had pre-season without six players,” Klopp said. “I can’t change that. I can’t say we’ve had the best pre-season of our lives, the sessions were good but the games came at the wrong moment.”
But Klopp said his team would still be ready to face Premier League champions City at Wembley.
“I don’t think we can expect to play our best game on Sunday, but it’s about winning,” he said. “There are different ways to do it, and we want to find one. I won Super Cup in Germany five times - if you win it nobody cares, if you lose it some people care.”
A string of poor pre-season results caused concern among Liverpool fans but Klopp, who takes his squad to France for a final training camp this week, said the match was important only in itself.
“It’s a final,” he said. “A curtain-raiser? It’s the first time anybody has explained it like that to me. We will try to be as ready as possible. If we win, great.
“Does it have an influence on the season? I don’t think so. If we lose, not great.”
City, by contrast, have been in good form in pre-season and having beaten Liverpool by one point to win the title last season, they look favourites for the title once more.DPA