Klopp wants Liverpool to be firing for Gunners clash
By John Skilbeck
22 August 2020, 09:47
Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool must be firing on all cylinders for next weekend's Community Shield clash with Arsenal.
The title-winning boss has whisked away his Premier League champions to Austria for a pre-season tune-up, lining up games against Stuttgart and Salzburg before the Wembley trip.
Saturday's meeting with Stuttgart was expected to be an emotional one for Klopp, given he grew up a fanatic of the club.
But for the most part he has been focusing on ensuring his players are training hard and looking sharp ahead of the 2020-21 season.
And with international tournaments cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Klopp has benefited from having a complete squad available to him, rather than seeing players return intermittently in the lead-up to a new campaign.
He said he was "really happy" to have a full complement, adding ahead of the Stuttgart test: "That's why we try to train as often as possible and we cannot care and don't care about the games too much, it's just so that we are ready for them.
"With this game, we try everything to be ready for the Arsenal game but even after that there are another two weeks."
Klopp's reference there is to the fact that although the Wembley showdown with FA Cup winners Arsenal takes place on August 29, the Premier League does not begin until a fortnight later, with a numbers of international stars heading away briefly with their countries in the interim.
Liverpool begin their Premier League title defence against Leeds United at Anfield on September 12.
The German boss was relishing Saturday's tussle with Stuttgart, remembering his boyhood fandom of the club.
"They are the team in the area where I grew up. There were a lot of people who were supportive of Bayern Munich and stuff like this... [but if] there was only one club, then it was Stuttgart," Klopp told LFCTV.
"I loved the shirt, the traditional shirt was always white with a red stripe, a big one. I love the badge and all that stuff.
"As a kid I was a massive, massive supporter. It's long ago that I was a kid, honestly, and a lot of things happen since then but it's, for sure, one of my favourite German clubs, it's clear."