Ward “surprise,” injuries & investment – 4 key things from Klopp’s pre-Villa press conference

    Jurgen Klopp was back in front of the cameras as he looked ahead to Monday’s game, but focus was largely on investment, squad updates and the looming exit of Julian Ward.

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    Here are four key points from the manager as he previewed the Boxing Day clash at Aston Villa:

    Surprise over Ward exit

    DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Sunday, December 11, 2022: Liverpool's Sporting Director Julian Ward during the Dubai Super Cup 2022 match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Al Maktoum Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Sunday, December 11, 2022: Liverpool's Sporting Director Julian Ward during the Dubai Super Cup 2022 match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Al Maktoum Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    The shock news of sporting director Julian Ward handing in his resignation came in November, a surprise not only to fans but for Klopp as well.

    “It was a surprise when Julian told me, but we will work completely normal together until the day he leaves,” Klopp said.

    “He is 100 percent committed, we’ve never had a problem. Everything is fine. He told us I think after the Southampton game, I was surprised but it’s his decision.”

    It’s been just months since he took over the role from Michael Edwards.

    Time for a quick squad update

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 22, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp puts an arm around James Milner as he goes off with an injury during the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 22, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp puts an arm around James Milner as he goes off with an injury during the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    Injuries and illness have again proved a nuisance for Klopp and the boss provided a few updates on his squad ahead of Monday’s game:

    • “Milly will be out for a couple of games” – hamstring
    • “Same for Bobby [but] he’s already on the better side of it” – calf
    • “Virg trained completely normal so will be there [at Villa]”
    • “Trent will hopefully be better” after illness
    • And Konate’s “first session will be the 27th”

    Every reason for optimism

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 22, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second equalising goal to level the score at 2-2 during the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 22, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second equalising goal to level the score at 2-2 during the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    The trip to Villa is the first of five match in 19 days and Liverpool have a lot of catching up to do, a fight that Klopp is embracing.

    “We are really looking forward to what’s coming up, but we know it’s intense and there are no guarantees out there,” he said.

    “We consider ourselves in punching distance and we have to chase, that is what we will do. We have left a gap between us and there are much more exciting positions in the table.

    “There is reason for optimism, definitely.”

    Any January movement?

    AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS - Tuesday, October 25, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a press conference at the Amsterdam Arena ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A MD5 game between AFC Ajax and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS - Tuesday, October 25, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a press conference at the Amsterdam Arena ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A MD5 game between AFC Ajax and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    With this the first pre-match press conference for the manager since November, questions about the January window and future investment were always to pop up.

    “I don’t know the amount of money it would take, but I’m not against investment, to be honest, that’s clear,” Klopp said in light of Jamie Carragher’s £250 million claim.

    “We will see what the future brings, nobody knows that in the moment, but I’m still convinced the future is bright for us.

    “But in the moment, we have to sort the situation, nothing to do with investment or whatever, we have to sort the present, and that’s what we’re working on.

    “January, in our situation, is a window where we always say we’re always prepared, that’s how it is.”

    Source

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