Jurgen Klopp has highlighted Manchester City’s problem surrounding Erling Haaland and does not believe the champions have changed their style to incorporate the prolific striker.
Liverpool will face City in the Community Shield at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on Saturday and both teams will have a new forward on show. Pep Guardiola managed to land Haaland from Borussia Dortmund this summer for in a deal worth around £51m. While Klopp paid a club-record £85m for Darwin Nunez.
Both players have featured in pre-season for their respective clubs and look set to get competitive debuts on Saturday. But both clubs may well have to alter their styles of play to fit their new recruits.
City played last season without a recognised number nine. And the arrival of Haaland – an out-and-out frontrunner – may take time to adapt to.
But Klopp admits Liverpool could also take time to develop their style of play with Nunez heavily involved.
Klopp said: “We watched (City’s friendly against) Bayern (Munich).
“Erling scored a Man City goal, a square ball in the six-yard box. It was good but so far it didn’t change a lot.
“They have same problem we have. They are not used to Erling’s natural runs, just as we are not used to Darwin’s natural runs yet.
“Most of the things look like last year, how they set up the press, how flexible they are in their own possession. It is good – very, very good – but so far no real change is obvious.”
Klopp is hoping to instill more of a “fighting spirit” in his squad after narrowly missing out on Premier League and Champions League glory.
The Reds lost out on the title by a point to City. And they went down 1-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
The German coach said: “We know each other and we know what we expect from each other. We had a big meeting where I told the boys what I expect from them next year.
“I want to use the togetherness we have, the atmosphere we have in the team, the experience we made for better.
“We can grow closer together, we can be clearer in the things we do. The things we do are good but can we do it better? Yes.
“Will that always lead to a better result? That is not possible because we won a lot of games but, performance-wise, we can definitely improve and that is what we try.
Klopp wants more ‘pressure’
“We want to create a resilience and a fighting spirit. Being angry is important to fight against the outside world in this specific moment. All these things we can do.
“We don’t know where it will lead us. But we know it will improve us, based on the things we know are important when we bring them on the pitch.”
Liverpool did finish last season with two trophies – the FA Cup and Carabao Cup – but Klopp knows ultimately his team will need to evolve to remain at the top of the pile.
He added: “We want to be the team no one wants to play against because they have pressure from everywhere when they have the ball and (because of what we do) when we have the ball.
“But we have to have more consistency when we have the ball. We have to create new ways. We have to help the boys with positioning – not invent ourselves new, that is not necessary, but include new things here and there. That is what we were really working on.”