Should anyone think that Jurgen Klopp would consider taking his eye off the ball as far as the forthcoming season is concerned, then it is with all the politeness one can muster that they should be told to think again. Because despite steering Liverpool to their sixth Champions League triumph only last month, Anfield coach Klopp has already totally realigned his ambitions for his club. Following the 2-0 win over fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in the final in Madrid, lesser managers than Klopp might consider sitting back and basking in the glory of the crowning achievement of a thrilling season.
But Klopp is at the top of his profession for a reason. And one of his strongest attributes is realising where the margins for improvement sit. In surveying the campaign just gone, the rather obvious void yet to be filled — certainly not for the past 29 years, anyway — is the snaring of the top-flight title. That the Reds didn’t manage that quest last time of asking is obviously a sore point among the Liverpool legions. But it can also be argued that they couldn’t have done much than they did, except perhaps to snare a couple more points so they could have overtaken the eventual winners and therefore champions of the Premier League, Manchester City.
Now, as Liverpool prepare to take on Borussia Dortmund tomorrow (Saturday, July 20, kick-off 1am UK time) at the Notre Dame Stadium, Indiana on their tour of the United States, Klopp has come out to declare than Pep Guardiola’s side are favourites to retain the title. With reference to the huge spending power of City, Klopp said:
“We’re completely focused on Liverpool, although I heard the Premier League made a change because last season was so close with points. It would be great if we can be close to Man City again, it’s clear they are big favourites again.”
Klopp then went on to talk about the “greed and determination” that the Etihad Stadium outfit showed last term to lift the title after they secured 100 points the season before adding, in reference to last season’s race for silverware:
“They wouldn’t have got 98 without us and vice versa, all these games are so difficult we know we were lucky against Spurs at home, one or two other games too but then in some games we were unlucky.”
After the Reds meet Borussia Dortmund, they will continue their fixtures across the pond against Sevilla and Sporting CP, before facing Napoli in Edinburgh and Lyon in Geneva. Friendlies are all well and good, of course, but Klopp knows all eyes will be on him and his stars when they kick their first ball in anger of the new Premier League season against newly promoted Norwich City on August 9.