Liverpool prioritise the long haul as Jurgen Klopp oversees a changing of the guard



Yet Mane may not be the only prominent absentee, and not just because neither Alisson nor Diogo Jota is fit. Liverpool’s trademark intensity could be missing. Arguably April was when they were at their most devastating, defeating City three days before a 4-0 demolition of Manchester United.

They may not have the same eviscerating sharpness now. “We have to extend our pre-season into our season,” Klopp said. Indeed, and in a seeming contradiction, they will play a pre-season friendly after their campaign has begun, with one scheduled following their Premier League opener against Fulham.

Not for the first time, perhaps, they have suffered for their success. They played 64 games last year. The Community Shield has cut into their pre-season and while they have often started campaigns under Klopp with flurries of goals, this may begin with a search for peak condition.

“I like the competition but I think it would be possible to find another date,” said Klopp. “We had a longer season than other teams and now we have a shorter pre-season.” He cited the example from his homeland, where finalists in the German Super Cup are spared participation in the first round of the Cup, as a possible solution.

Klopp and Pep Guardiola met in the Community Shield in 2019

It is a competition Klopp won in his Dortmund days, though he also suffered two defeats. He has two more in the Community Shield with Liverpool, both on penalties. “We play this final a couple of times and it would be nice if we could win it one time,” he reflected. “It is the last domestic competition we didn’t win so we give it a try.”

He has won six bigger prizes in his time at Anfield, whether the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the European Super Cup or the Club World Cup, and Klopp highlighted the Community Shield’s strange status. “If you win it, it is a very important competition and if you lose it, it becomes less important,” he said. And normally when Liverpool meet City, when Klopp faces Pep Guardiola, the significance is not in doubt.

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