Liverpool will use progress not money to attract players – Jürgen Klopp

• Existing squad may be sufficient to cover Sadio Mané’s African absence
• Philippe Coutinho ‘more on less on track’ after ankle ligament injury

Jürgen Klopp has said he will pursue signings who are interested in Liverpool’s progress more than financial might and his existing squad could cover Sadio Mané’s departure to the Africa Cup of Nations. The Liverpool manager is keen to strengthen his attacking options in January with Senegal’s Mané bound for Gabon and Danny Ings out for the season with a serious knee injury. But he insists Liverpool will not be seeking a short-term solution or held to ransom by potential targets in the often difficult winter window.

Klopp said: “It is not only China that is looking for good players but a lot of other clubs, and they might have more money to offer. I can say we don’t want to convince players with money. We want to convince them with the way we go. We want to have players who are ready to develop and it’s not a message for the winter transfer window – it’s a message for the next few years. We have already really good players and if someone wants to be a part, they are welcome.

“In this window, I would say if you don’t have the biggest injury problems in the world then you shouldn’t do things you can do in the summer. Then you solve one problem and create another for the summer. But, as always, we have our eye on the market. That doesn’t mean we can do what we want.

“Firstly, I am really happy with the squad. Second, Sadio is not around from January but we have options – we can change our system and do a lot of things.

“If we had five other wingers already to replace Sadio then we wouldn’t have the atmosphere that we have now in the squad. We can change the system. A lot of our players are versatile. The players need to be open and I am sure they are.”

Liverpool will again be without Philippe Coutinho against Stoke City on Tuesday and Klopp admits it is unlikely the influential Brazilian will meet his target of facing Manchester City at Anfield on New Year’s Eve.

Coutinho has been sidelined for four weeks with ankle ligament damage and his manager confirmed: “Unfortunately we don’t have him back in [team] training. He makes his own training and that is the big difference. We don’t have him in full training so there is no reason to think about when he is back. We cannot rush the situation. We don’t want to rush it. We have only to accept the more or less bigger steps in his improvement with us.

“It was a serious injury and so we need to wait. Whenever he is back the season is long enough that he can help us but we cannot rush it because there are a few games now. More or less he is on track. It is a lot about experience. He was in a very good way and then it was a little bit more difficult because of a reaction in the ankle and we had to cool down the situation a little bit. I don’t think it will be long-term but the game everyone is dreaming of is City: it was clear from the first second of the injury this would be extremely unlikely but it was the words of Phil so we will try to do it. At this moment it is not more likely than before but I don’t want to say it is not possible.”


Andy Hunter

The GuardianTramp

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