Jurgen Klopp eyes quick business for summer rebuild as rivals put the foot down

Jurgen Klopp is conscious Liverpool have to keep pace with their rivals who are “speeding up” when it comes to the transfer market.

Two of their last three major signings – Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo, last January and this – were long-term targets and the Reds responded quickly to fend off interest from Tottenham and Manchester United respectively.

While there may be some uncertainty about Champions League income next season with the club seven points off the top four, albeit with two matches in hand, manager Klopp has his targets for a summer rebuild already in place and would like to move swiftly.

Liverpool v Everton – Premier League – Anfield
The January signing of Cody Gakpo was accelerated to fend off interest from rival clubs (Peter Byrne/PA)

That was not possible last season as they were contending for a quadruple until their final two matches of the campaign, while the pending departure of sporting director Julian Ward in the summer and the potential loss of the cash boost of a seventh successive season among Europe’s elite may complicate matters.

“It’s not helpful (losing out on the Champions League). Money always has an impact. Of course it is influential but this is a summer where we have to be in the market, definitely,” he said.

“I am sorry that we cannot guarantee the Champions League at this moment but it’s not done yet, we will fight for it, so we don’t have to talk about it as though it is not possible.

“But it is tricky and difficult and if (we qualify) it will be a late decision, I guess.

“We have to start doing work earlier than before we know where we will end up position-wise and European competition-wise, so these things are clear here.

“My job is to make it 100 per cent clear what we need from a sports point of view and then other people are responsible for giving us the resources or whatever. I have nothing to do with that.

“We built a stand and a training ground and the club is in a really good place but around us a few people are speeding up a little bit and you cannot ignore that.”

Earlier this week principal owner John W Henry confirmed the club had not actually been put up for sale by Fenway Sports Group but it was looking for external investment and he was confident that search would be fruitful

“I am optimistic when he is optimistic because it is his business. I am not involved in the search for investors,” added Klopp, who denied the departure of Ward just a year after taking over from the incredibly successful Michael Edwards had placed more power in his hands.

“I always have the same say. I cannot decide, at all, about money. Not about one penny. It is always the same.

“The old-school managers maybe had a budget and could work like this, it is not that way.”

But while their plans are in place for a summer spend, Klopp has to find a way of getting the squad he does have to play with more consistency after back-to-back Premier League wins were followed by the confidence-shattering 5-2 midweek defeat by Real Madrid.

The spotlight has fallen on his senior players, with even the previously imperious Virgil van Dijk coming in for criticism as they ship soft goals.

Klopp has denied he is too loyal to the players who have brought so much success during his seven-and-a-half years but he is also not prepared to make knee-jerk decisions.

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk
Even the previously peerless Virgil van Dijk has come in for scrutiny (Peter Byrne/PA)

“I think differently because I give people time,” he said. “The world outside doesn’t give people time. This world is a crazy place. Not only football but all.

“We don’t have time for anything any more, we know everything immediately. We Google everything. Now or never. I am from a different time.

“I know that everybody needs time to develop and get back to their best. Everything needs time in life and everyone accepts that for themselves, but not for other people. I couldn’t care less about that.

“It’s part of the whole show that we get judged. It’s completely normal that people do that.”