Liverpool boss Klopp avoids Benteke future question

Christian Benteke: Told his time at Liverpool is up

Christian Benteke: Rarely started under Klopp

Jurgen Klopp avoided answering questions on Christian Benteke’s Liverpool future at his press conference on Tuesday.

The striker, who arrived from Aston Villa last summer for £32.5million, has struggled to make an impact at Anfield this season and he has been linked with a move to West Ham.

But the German boss refused to speak specifically about the 25-year-old, who has scored nine goals this season.

“Speculation started in October! We work the whole day, of course on the squad for next year,” said Klopp.

“We think about transfers, we think about everything, but you know that 99% of things in newspapers are only 1% true.

“Lot of transfer rumours are far away from the truth.It’s funny when I read them.

“Sometimes I don’t even know the name of the player!”

Klopp was then asked whether Liverpool could mount a title challenge next season.

“I have no idea when we can, but I can promise that we will try everything to build on the base we have,” added the German.

“It’s obvious we’ve worked on a base. We can finish 8th, 7th, 6th…it’s not the best position, but everybody saw the signs.

“I don’t want to give you a time or a date when I’m sure we’ll be champions. But we have to improve, and I think we will.”

Liverpool face three games in eight days – culminating in next Wednesday’s Europa League final against Sevilla, who made 11 changes in their recent defeat to Espanyol.

“If we lose the two next games, I will go to Basel still confident, still think we can win. But it’d feel better to win.

“Sevilla made 11 changes. We can’t do this. There’s no fixed rule to say we win the next two games then we’ll win the final,” added Klopp.

Klopp was also adamant that the row of tickets for the Basel final would not overshadow their preparation for the final.

The  St Jakob-Park stadium in Switzerland only has a capacity of 38,500 – meaning Liverpool fans have only been allocated just over 10,000 tickets.

“How easy is our position sitting here and saying ‘why are they playing in Basel?’

“Maybe this tournament will change in the next years. It’s quite easy to say it’s the wrong decision after. They’ll have a sold-out stadium, 100 per cent!,” continued Klopp.

“If you have 80,000 and we get 30,000 tickets, you [still] can’t get everybody in.

“The whole Liverpool family is involved. In no game over the last 100 years not all Liverpool fans could get into the stadium.

“Let’s not have 1 per cent negativity around this final. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us.”