CHICAGO (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said on Thursday he expects to remain at Anfield for at least three more years as the Premier League giants prepare to kick off their pre-season tour to North America.
Klopp, who successfully guided Liverpool to a sixth Champions League crown last month, was taken aback when asked to comment on reports suggesting he may leave the club when his current contract expires in 2022.
“Wow! I don’t think a lot of people get asked that question three years before the contract is expiring,” Klopp said.
“We will see. Why should we think about this? At least three years – that’s the answer.”
ESPN reported last month that Klopp was pondering a sabbatical when his Liverpool contract ends. Agent Mark Kosicke, meanwhile, has hinted that Klopp may be interested in taking over as coach of the German national team.
Klopp, however, was solely focussed on preparations for the coming season on Thursday as the Reds begin a three-game US tour that starts today against Borussia Dortmund in South Bend, Indiana.
“I’m excited about having the first proper test,” said Klopp, who added that he is not overly concerned by results during the tour.
“So far, so good but there is a lot of work to do,” said Klopp. “We played at a specific level last year which should be the basis for what we expect from ourselves for next season.
“It’s not about results, it’s about performance and there is still space for improvement and that’s what we are working on. We know that.”
Liverpool’s preparations have been disrupted by the international football calendar.
Goalkeeper Alisson and forward Roberto Firmino will only join the squad later in the pre-season following their Copa America campaign with Brazil, while striker Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are also absent due to African Cup of Nations commitments with Egypt and Senegal.
“It’s a slightly different situation to last year; players coming back late, we had a shorter holiday than pretty much all the other teams because the Champions League final was three weeks after the season ended,” he said.
“So that’s the situation but we knew that, we planned that. It still makes it a bit more difficult than in other pre-seasons maybe, but that’s all.
Klopp, meanwhile, said Liverpool were girding themselves for another daunting title chase with Manchester City, who pipped them to the Premier League crown on the final day of the season.
However, Klopp said he expected other teams to improve.
“It would be great if we could be around Man City again because that’s the only possibility to have to pass them because it is already clear they are the big favourite again,” Klopp said.
“All the teams will start again: there is no duel with City and Liverpool and all the rest are watching us. That’s not how the Premier League is, all of these games are so difficult to play.
“What we did last year, we were really rock solid in all; we were difficult to play, difficult to outplay, in general we always created chances, we were strong in a lot of departments, didn’t get nervous in difficult situations in a game, could increase pressure in different situations on the other teams.”