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Jürgen Koppler talks about his present and future at the Liverpool helm

By Charles Cornwall

Jürgen Koppler talks about his present and future at the Liverpool helm

The Reeds boss told ESPN about his plans after until 2026 earlier this year.

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Jürgen Klopp told ESPN about his plans for the present and future after winning two of a possible four trophies last season. The former Borussia Dortmund boss, who signed a new contract until 2026 earlier this year, also spoke about his vision for Liverpool once he leaves the club. With less than four weeks to go until the start of the new season, Klopp says the campaign ahead will be challenging on and off the pitch, with a number of teams set to compete for titles.

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ESPN: How do you feel about last season, when having come so close to winning four trophies they failed to win the Premier League and Champions League titles?

Koppler: "I'm very positive about the season and the things we did, of course. Having been so close, it would have been nice [to win it all], but it doesn't hurt anymore.

It hurt at the time, that's for sure, when we fell a little bit short in the league and lost the Champions League final, but honestly, the day after [when Liverpool had the homecoming parade] showed us everything we needed to know: the people, obviously. That's what we do: we do it for the people and, obviously, they're very appreciative of what we did throughout the year. It was a spectacular season, with an incredible amount of points, an incredible amount of games and all these kinds of things, so those are really positive reflections."

"We knew that, if we had won both competitions, we would still have to improve and change here and there. You can't always do the same thing and expect the result to be better: you have to improve details, and that's what we would have done if we had won. So now, of course, everything is fine and here we are, recharged and ready to try again."

Sadio Mané left Liverpool for Bayern Munich, but they signed Darwin Nunez after bringing in Luis Diaz in January. Are we seeing the evolution of the squad for the next few years?

"It's necessary. Not only did we lose Sadio, we also lost Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino from last year's squad of players. Other players could leave as well, but we brought in Luis in the winter, Darwin now, Fabio [Carvalho] and Calvin [Ramsay]. "It's really exciting because the guys are fresh and full of excitement - with big eyes - to be with us, so that changes the dynamic of the group and it's really necessary.

"I'm in my seventh season and it's important that we don't do the same thing over and over again. We have to go to the next level, and to do that you always need something new, and that's what we have."

About Mohamed Salah and Qatar 2022

Salah ended speculation about his future by signing a new contract, how important was it to the team that he decided to stay?

"Very important, of course. It is always like that. If it hadn't happened, we would have had to deal with that, but I knew from the beginning that Mo's wish was to stay and the club wanted him to stay. After that, it's just negotiations."

"If you do that in other parts of the business, nobody notices. You just realise that they are still together. But in football we do it in public and that's why people felt a bit of nervousness, but for us it was never like that."

"It was a very important signing for us. I look at it like this: if we had to sign him from another club, wow, what a tremendous player we would be adding. But now we still have him here, and that's great. You see him here and he's happy thinking about the future with us, so yes, it's definitely great news.

You've also committed your long-term future to Liverpool by agreeing a four-year deal in April, which will take you to 11 years at Anfield.

[laughs] "Sorry! But having won everything as Liverpool manager, including the Premier League and the Champions League, do you think about what you want your legacy to be as a manager? What do you want or need before you leave Liverpool?"

"No, not really, it's not that I look back on my time with Mainz and think: it's a nice memory that we went to the Bundesliga and won the league twice with Dortmund. It's nice, but it's not the first thing I think of when I look back on my time with Mainz or Dortmund, and it won't be that way when I look back on my time with Liverpool either."

"My goal, of course, is to win as much as possible, but when you leave, you have to leave the club in the best way. I think that's very important. If you completely squeeze a club and then you leave, someone else will have to clean up all the rubbish you have left behind. That's not the way things should be. The club should be in the best possible situation and should find itself with a team ready to move on to the next chapter. But that is in the future. At the moment, I am very happy with the circumstances we have and the team we have put together."

During those four years, until the end of the current contract, do you expect it to simply be a case of Liverpool vs. Manchester City for honours? They seem a long way off.

"We're not that far away. There is some confusion about last season's points total. We faced Chelsea - I don't know how many more points we had, really - but we faced them four times and didn't win a single game against them. It wasn't because we played badly on the day -- we were very good in those games -- but for 90 minutes of each game, before penalties [in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals], we didn't win, so Chelsea are an incredibly strong team."

"We have to pay attention to Tottenham and what they are doing at the moment. They haven't got any worse this year. Arsenal are still there, Man United have reinvented themselves, we have to keep an eye on all these things. It's always the same and we've changed a little bit - not a lot, but a little bit. City maybe change more, I don't know, we'll see in the next few weeks. But that's the way things are. The base has to be right, and for us it's right, and go from there. I'm not interested in the points we had last year, I'm interested in what we can do this season, but I'm positive, I'm very optimistic, although I'm not sure, so we're going to have to fight and see what the result is.

What do you think the impact of the World Cup will be on the season and do you expect it to cause some kind of uncertainty?

"Everywhere it's strange, both domestically and internationally. In Germany, they stop playing and start again at the end of January. We start again on Boxing Day. That means [the World Cup] will have an impact on the Champions League if you're still in the running by then. I haven't made plans for that yet, but it's clear it will be a big challenge and we have to be prepared as best we can for the next period until November. We have a big group [of players] who will go to the World Cup, but fortunately not all of them will still be playing until the final. 

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