Jurgen Klopp has new-found status this summer as a Premier League manager but some things will never change while he is at Liverpool.
August, during his four full seasons, has always been a month when he has fielded questions about transfers. The appetite among supporters to see new signings is unrelenting, and, ahead of the new campaign, Thiago Alcantara – who is set to leave Bayern Munich – tops their wish-list.
While Chelsea spend heavily and Manchester City are plotting a way to land Lionel Messi, Liverpool fans are getting twitchy that the title their team won so breath- takingly last season will be surrendered without additions.
Klopp, however, remains sanguine. He likes Thiago, for whom Bayern want £30million, but his immediate objective is to win the Community Shield, then, beyond that, the ambition is to eke further progress from a squad who took 99 points en route to the title. That is more important than any transfer.
‘Every year it is harder,’ said Klopp, who has so far signed £11m Greece left back Kostas Tsimikas. ‘Was it easy last year? For sure not. It looked in moments like it was but that was only because we were a result machine. That is the only reason. It was hard in every game. We had to fight so hard.
‘If you make a lot of changes to a squad that is good. But it is better in the long term than the short term because you need to get used to each other. It is not a big advantage – it is a little advantage – but we are used to each other. We know what we are doing in specific moments.
‘We know we have to mix it up with a sensational attitude and a sensational desire in the game. It is not about the players anybody will sign.
‘When you play these teams you have to be ready to fight and ready to win and that is what we have done over the last two or three years pretty much.’
But how do Liverpool get better? The idea that they could improve their points tally for the fifth consecutive year under Klopp and reach three figures will be scoffed at, not least as the demands that will be placed on all clubs over the next eight months will be physically draining.
When you factor in that they have won a raft of big prizes since the summer of 2019, it is human nature to think that there will be an element of complacency in their play.
The idea that Liverpool have lost some of their hunger, though, is not something Klopp will consider.
‘Motivation will not be our problem,’ he said firmly. ‘I don’t see it. Will we lose games? I don’t like it but probably, yes. It is how we deal with the different situations.
‘Will we win a game? Hopefully yes, it is a different challenge. So all these kinds of things, nothing really changes.
‘It is about how you feel when you win and lose and I know this team will not stop trying and that is all I need.
‘I will not stop trying. I don’t expect everything to happen for me, but I expect that I will give everything and I expect that the boys will do that as well.
‘So it puts us in a position where we can be competitive and that is the first step to go for a title. It is to just be around when decisions are made. Can we do it still? We have to prove it on the pitch, nowhere else.’
Liverpool lost last season’s Community Shield on penalties to Manchester City six weeks after the start of pre-season training. This time they have only had 14 days to prepare for the clash with Arsenal and the timing, Klopp recognises, is ‘hardly ideal’.
His team will not be at full strength – a late call will be made on Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is expected to report for England duty – but the determination to start how they signed off last month is there and the manager is ready for Liverpool to deal with having a target on their back.
‘I want us to be in a mood to want to win each game,’ said Klopp, who says he has full trust in the national federations to guard his players during next week’s international break.
‘It is not so important why other teams want to win against us. It is much more important why we want to win. That is what we will try again. There is no time limit on that.
‘It is surprising that people always think yes you can do it first and then you cannot do it any more. The desire has always been there. That will not change at this club.’