Jurgen Klopp yesterday held his first training session as Liverpool manager with a reduced squad but there was some early good news for the German.
International duty meant just nine first-team players, supplemented by three youth team goalkeepers, were present at Melwood as the former Borussia Dortmund boss began work proper after his appointment on Thursday.
However, one of those players was Philippe Coutinho, who a week ago pulled out of Brazil’s squad for World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Venezuela with a minor groin injury.
Early indications are the 23-year-old will be available for Klopp’s first match in charge at Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime.
Other first-teamers present for the session, which lasted just over an hour were James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno, Lucas Leiva, Kolo Toure, Dejan Lovren and Joao Carlos Teixeira. With the first six of those plus Coutinho all realistically in with a good chance of starting at White Hart Lane, Klopp at least had a decent base on which to begin his planning for the game.
The remainder of Liverpool’s internationals are expected to return to Melwood by the middle of the week, giving the German three days to work with his full squad — minus the likes of captain Jordan Henderson, striker Christian Benteke and forward Roberto Firmino, who are all still out injured.
Klopp spoke to those assembled players present in a huddle for five minutes before training commenced under him, Peter Krawietz, Klopp’s analyst and scout at Borussia Dortmund, and existing first-team coach Pep Lijnders — both of whom were at the club’s academy with the German on Saturday to watch Liverpool’s U18s beat Stoke.
Zeljko Buvac, Klopp’s long-time assistant, is yet to arrive on Merseyside.
Klopp has already spoken of his belief that performances can improve with the current squad and for that reason he insists he is not interested in what money is available in January’s transfer window.
When asked whether he had plans to lure any of his former players from Dortmund, he said: “That’s not my intention at all.” On what money he would have for January transfers he added: “I’m not interested in that.
“It’s already October and I don’t even know how many matches there are until winter.
“But there are a few and so we’ll be looking at our own players first.” Klopp has cautioned against expecting any noticeable dramatic improvement in his first match in charge, mainly because of the time he has available with all his players.
However, that has not prevented expectation among fans rocketing since he was recruited. Klopp insists no targets have been imposed for him, apart from to rediscover what was lost in the last 18 months under Rodgers. “I had a long conversation with the owner (John Henry) and the aim is simply to play football with an identity,” he said.
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