Jurgen Klopp says he cannot expand his squad to deal with the intense physical demands next season’s shortened campaign will bring.
The Premier League has announced it will return to begin the 2020-21 season on September 12, and will finish May 23, cramming a full 38 fixtures into just eight months.
For Liverpool, there will be the added pressure of a Community Shield game the week before the season’s opener, and also Nations League matches for international players in that week.
Add in a potentially full Champions League fixture list, and the top clubs will be facing unique demands on their playing staff. But Klopp is adamant he has to trust his squad and not splash the cash to make it bigger.
“An unbelievably intense season is waiting for all of us, with four weeks less than usual, so they will be unique, interesting challenges,” he explained.
“Look, the perfect scenario for a football manager is that you have 40 players available and they are all happy, then you just pick 20 for three weeks, then you pick the other 20. But it doesn’t work like that. The world is not like this.
“I do not want to be part of a squad like this to be honest. These players can only play the football they play because they know they are needed. We cannot keep someone in the backyard and bring them up in the decisive moment.
“That will not help, we will have solutions for that. We have young players. The size of the squad is not that important to me, the quality of the squad is very much so. I think we will have a really good squad for next season.”
Klopp’s comments could appear to some as a sideswipe at the enviably large squad boasted by Manchester City, but he has always been an advocate of tight-knit groups who feed off the team spirit he creates.
And he says that will not change, despite the shortened season, and even with his players given just two weeks off this summer before they must return again…especially with the continuing uncertainty of the Coronavirus crisis.
“The solution cannot be to have a much bigger squad for the specific moment and then realise you cannot use all the players,” he added.
“They are all human beings and nobody can be held back for a year and then on the last day of the year be told, ‘now we need you.’
“It is really difficult to judge the future. Usually we know what funds we have, but it is all uncertain. Can you count on the money of the Champions League, Premier League, and what will it be?
“We have to consider that, because we are responsible not only for the success of the club, but everyone who works here. So we have to wait. We have a really good squad.”
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