London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down talk of a summer spending spree in a bid to revive the Anfield club’s fortunes.
The German boss believes it will be a relatively quiet transfer window despite speculation linking Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe and Jadon Sancho with big-money moves.
But, with clubs across Europe still counting the cost of the coronavirus pandemic on their finances as a result of having to play behind closed doors, the continent’s leading teams have a lot less spending money than in previous years.
Liverpool’s finances could be stretched even further if the Merseysiders fail to qualify for the Champions League, with Klopp adamant he will not spend heavily after his side ceded the Premier League title to Manchester City.
Klopp believes many teams won’t move into the transfer window until after Euro 2022, saying: “The market will be really strange.
“I hear about really big money moves… is Kylian Mbappe going? Haaland? Sancho? I don’t see that happening a lot this summer because the football world is still not in the same place it was before.
“We will see how the market will develop but for sure it won’t be an early market.”
– ‘Beat the best team in the world’ –
Klopp, pointing out Liverpool had won the Champions League and Premier League during his time at Anfield, said: “I never look at other clubs and think ‘They can do this, so we can’t do that’.
“I am not interested in being the coach of the best team in the world, I am interested in being the coach of the team who can beat the best team in the world.”
And he said a fully-fit Liverpool squad could still challenge City, Chelsea and Thursday’s opponents Manchester United, with Reds boss looking forward to seeing Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, as well as captain Jordan Henderson, returning to pre-season training.
“Getting the (injured) players back makes us better, definitely. These are our first transfers,” he said.
Meanwhile Klopp said it was a “crime” to make United play three games in five days.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 10 changes ahead of his side’s 2-1 home defeat by Leicester on Tuesday, which confirmed Manchester City as champions.
But the result also gave the Foxes, now in third, a nine-point advantage over deposed champions Liverpool, who are scrambling to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Liverpool, who have two games in hand over Leicester, are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, having played a game fewer.
United’s congested schedule came about following the postponement of their clash with Liverpool earlier this month as a result of protests at Old Trafford against US owners the Glazers.
“To play Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday is a crime,” said Klopp. “It is. But it is not the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the players.”
He added: “If we don’t qualify for the Champions League it is not the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team selection or the Premier League, it is our fault.”