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Klopp backs young guns to make big step up next season

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Jurgen Klopp says the financial uncertainty caused by Covid-19 means Liverpool are unlikely to invest heavily in the squad to build on Premier League glory, but instead will back his next generation to become "internal transfers".

Klopp acknowledged that the pandemic has had a profound impact on moves in and out this summer. He insisted none of his world-class players would be leaving but confirmed prudence would force the English champions to take a step back from adding more stellar names.

"Covid has, of course, influenced both sides, with ins and outs," said Klopp. "It's just not likely that it will be the most busy summer in the world. But maybe at a later point in the year, if the transfer window is still open, we will know more.

"But this squad, look at it. It is not a squad you have to change now and say, 'OK, we need this position and this position'.

"If you are a football supporter, even if you are completely happy with everyone, you want back-ups. We don't have a first XI, we have a first 16 or 17. They can all play to the same level. And what we want to create are our transfers internally. So now [you see] the first glimpses of Neco Williams, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Ki-Jana Hoever. All these boys have done really well.

"We cannot spend millions because we want to or we think it is nice to do. We never wanted that. We want to strengthen this squad and this squad is strong. The problem with a strong squad is how do you improve a strong squad on the transfer market?

"It works with money, obviously, that is possible. But it never works only with money. You have to be creative and we try to be. We try to find solutions internally. We have three or four players who can make big, big steps."

With Liverpool losing millions from gate receipts alone due to behind-closed-doors football, no sensible club can operate as normal. And Klopp sees no possibility of losing his major players.

"I am very confident that we can keep the team together, but all the rest of the planning is ongoing without knowing," he said. "It is just that we have no idea at the moment. I don't know when the new season will start. Nobody knows how the future will be. Three months ago, nobody knew anything about how it would be and now we act a little bit like everything will be fine again. It is a little bit early to guess that.

"And in football now we get confronted with how much do you want to spend?

How much can you spend if you don't know how much you can have? What I can say is, this team will not stop wanting it. It is just not in their nature."

Klopp knows the different challenge of being a champion, having defended the Bundesliga crown with Dortmund in 2011-'12, although he says circumstances were different to Anfield. "There was absolutely no pressure in Dortmund to win the title again because we had no chance in 2011 and the worst thing you can do in Germany is fire up [Bayern] Munich," Klopp said.

"That is not a good idea usually, because they strike back pretty heavily.

"When we became champions in 2011 nobody told us we had to become champions again.

"That was a different time. You cannot compare the situations. People may expect from us to win the league again. That is possible. But I will not go into the season like this." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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