Liverpool news: Back-to-back defeats, tired stars and rushed preparation give Klopp a headache

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There was no sign of panic but his irritation was clear. Pre-season is not running for Liverpool entirely how Jurgen Klopp wants it to and now his frustration has been exacerbated by a 2-1 defeat by Sevilla.

It was a second loss inside 48 hours — Borussia Dortmund had beaten the European champions 3-2 at Notre Dame Stadium, Indiana, last Friday.

Liverpool conclude their US tour on Wednesday in New York against Sporting Lisbon and, as the season creeps closer, there are many issues for Klopp to address…

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool suffered their second successive defeat in pre-season on Sunday

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool suffered their second successive defeat in pre-season on Sunday

OUT OF RHYTHM

Liverpool returned to training on July 6. Their first fixtures against Tranmere and Bradford were nothing more than glorified training sessions, but Klopp was looking to see a step forward against opponents he had handpicked.

At this stage 12 months ago, Liverpool beat Manchester City 2-1 in New Jersey before thrashing Manchester United 4-1 in Ann Arbor and they played with a verve that indicated a blistering start was in the offing. The verve was certainly absent in that tussle with Sevilla.

‘We lost 2-1 and I hate that fact,’ said Klopp, whose side conceded goals to former Manchester City winger Nolito and Alejandro Pozo. 

‘I really hate that fact. The people here don’t see too many live games and I don’t like that we looked the way we looked. I want us to show our best face.’

Klopp 'didn't like the way we looked' as 10-man Sevilla beat his Reds side at Fenway Park

Klopp ‘didn’t like the way we looked’ as 10-man Sevilla beat his Reds side at Fenway Park

MISSING STARS

There were 24 players on duty at Boston’s Fenway Park, but only 14 of the squad will be involved when the main business begins. Absentees are hampering Liverpool and the situation will only marginally improve next week.

After their exertions on international duty, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker return from holiday on Monday. 

They will be joined by Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri, who have been recovering from injuries, for an intensive training camp in Evian on the southern shore of Lake Geneva.

Sadio Mane, whose season only ended on Friday, is not due back until August 5 — a day after the Community Shield against Manchester City. 

It is not realistic to expect Liverpool to play at full throttle in the opening weeks of the campaign, given the disjointed nature of the summer holidays.

After featuring at Africa Cup of Nations, Mohamed Salah will return from holiday on Monday

After featuring at Africa Cup of Nations, Mohamed Salah will return from holiday on Monday

Klopp recognised things are not moving as smoothly as he would like. ‘I know how difficult our situation is at this moment,’ said the German, who will only make a signing this summer if he genuinely believes the player provides rare quality and value. ‘We are missing our offensive line, plus two midfielders.

‘The way it is at the moment, one (part of our play) is good and the other is not. The players train five or six days in these (sweltering) conditions and you have to push. Do I ask too much? I’m not sure. But it is my problem.

I’ve had these situations 500 times in my career but I never get used to it.’

TOO MUCH FOOTBALL

Alisson and Firmino went straight from winning the Champions League on June 1 to helping Brazil win the Copa America, the final of which was staged in Rio de Janeiro on July 7. Mane went all the way in the Africa Cup of Nations, the final of which was staged in Cairo on July 19.

Shaqiri’s torn calf muscle, meanwhile, was sustained in the Nations League third-place play-off against England on June 9. This summer has been heavy for many in the Premier League and the workload is not going to slacken.

Liverpool have the European Super Cup against Chelsea in Istanbul on August 14, while they will compete in the Club World Cup in December — even though FIFA are yet to give them formal details of the format in Qatar. Klopp has concerns about the demands being placed on players.

‘Sadio’s season, after he played the final, was 13 months,’ said Klopp. ‘A 13-month season, that is how it is. Ask him how much holiday he has had. 

Alisson and Firmino helped Brazil win Copa America after enjoying Champions League glory

Alisson and Firmino helped Brazil win Copa America after enjoying Champions League glory

‘He’s played pretty much every game for Senegal. He’s played each game for us. Every international break, he is away. Ask him.

‘We sit here and it sounds like I am having a moan or whatever. It is just the situation, in the long-term, it is not acceptable. They need a holiday.

‘It’s not like after three days you can say to them, “Hey! Come on! Let’s start running again!” They have had a tough summer programme. It’s football.

‘We have to change it. There must be breaks. It’s not riding a bike, so you lose a little bit (of rhythm). It will all come back, but it will be a tough start.’



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