When Pogba was signed by Manchester United from Juventus for £89m Klopp made a great song and dance how he would never pay that kind of money for a player.
But now Klopp’s words have come back to haunt him as this summer he paid a world-record fee of £65million for a goalkeeper for Alisson from Roma, while in January Virgil van Dijk became the most expensive defender in football when he arrived at Anfield for £75m.
And don’t the media love reminding him of the fact. See how Klopp handled the tricky questions below.
Liverpool travelled to Charlotte in North Carolina on Sunday as their pre-season campaign stepped up a gear in their first match of the International Champions Cup against manager Jurgen Klopp’s old club Borussia Dortmund.
The Reds led 1-0 at the break thanks to a thundering header from Virgil van Dijk but three moments of pure class from Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic turned the game around in the second half as the Germans claimed a 3-1 victory.
No Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino but still plenty for Klopp to think about. Here are our rankings for the Reds:
Loris Karius (played entire match) – 5: Almost a “Karius calamity” in just the third minute when he played the ball straight out to a Dortmund striker, toughest save he had to make in the first half was from a van Dijk back pass, held one sharp low cross late in first half – though it almost bobbled out, could not be blamed for the penalty miss or Pulisic’s second but palmed Pulisic’s shot straight to Bruun Larsen for the third. Alisson’s holiday cannot end soon enough.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6: A busy performance and got forward as often as possible, knows he is behind Trent Alexander-Arnold in the pecking order and trying hard to change that, probably lacks a little in pace and explosiveness on TAA but will be a good back-up during a long season, played 60 minutes due to injury to Matip.
Andy Robertson with the cross, and Virgil Van Dijk gives Liverpool the lead over Borussia Dortmund in America. pic.twitter.com/cTQDCd9M6t— Anfield Express (@AnfieldExpress) July 22, 2018
Virgil van Dijk – 8: Calmness personified, the anchor of the Reds back four, never really needed to break a sweat, superb header for the first goal – though he was admittedly in acres of space, also starting to find his range with long balls picking out wide men, no surprise all Dortmund’s goals were scored when he was off the pitch
Joel Matip – 5: Got his chance to show how he fits in alongside Virgil van Dijk, but replaced after just 15 minutes with an injury problem, will keep the physios busy.
Andrew Robertson – 7: Never really exerted himself, his cross to set up Van Dijk’s towering header for the first goal was perfection, holding himself back waiting for the season proper to start.
Fabinho – 7: Fought hard in the midfield as he tries to claim a spot for the opening day against West Ham, showed his versatility by moving back to centre half when Matip went off. Wasn’t really tested with no Pulisic in the first half. Would have been interesting to see how he handled that threat.
Adam Lallana – 6: Got down the right well early and pinged in a nice cross, worked hard in both defence and attack, Lallana knows that there may be one space in the midfield open with the non-arrival of Nabil Fekir and he is doing his best to grab it, also put in a couple of challenges that really stung.
Curtis Jones – 7: An elegant presence out on the left, continues to impress both with and without the ball, rare to see a young player so composed at this level, some nice interchanges with Robertson.
Divock Origi – 6: The busy Belgium got on the ball a lot but once again his first touch let him down around the box, held up the ball well at times but he simply has no killer instinct in front of goal or the ability to deliver a killer pass. Loan spell on the way.
Lazar Markovic – 5: You have to feel sorry for Markovic who has been at the club since 2014 but played just 19 competitive games – the last in 2015, the Serbian had one or two chances but could not find the assist or room to shoot, killing time till his next loan spell.
Rafael Camacho – 7: Another standout performance from the youngster, real pace down the right with the ability to whip in a stinging cross, a way off first team football but at just 18 one for the future.
Joe Gomez – 7: On much sooner than expected after Matip’s injury, the England man was relatively untroubled on the right of the back four, got forward well without being able to deliver a telling cross, got on the end of one Milner corner but put it straight at the keeper
Nat Phillips – 6: Composed presence at the back, cutting out some dangerous balls with his head, was not really at fault for any of the Dortmund goals but maybe could have stepped in a bit more when he saw the danger.
Ragnar Klavan-5: Slow and cumbersome as always and gave Dortmund their first goal when he clumsily blocked off Pulisic for the penalty, hard to see why Klopp persists with the amiable Estonian, Reds’ fans need to hope Van Dijk and Lovren stay fit as Klavan is an error waiting to happen
Alberto Moreno – 5: A more composed performance than usual, completely undone by a final ten minutes where he contributed to both Dortmund goals, before that tracked back well and was not caught out of position, got on the end of a superb through ball from Solanke but could not convert, a nice run down the left late on that delivered a sharp cross which was not capitalized on, slow to block Pulisic’s second goal but in truth this was also superb finishing, embarrassed by Pulisic for Dortmund’s third.
Jurgen Klopp is clearly a very big fan of Christian Pulisic. pic.twitter.com/jahPBw1zbk— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 22, 2018
Ben Woodburn – 6: Klopp continues to persist in playing him in the midfield role rather than the wide forward role where he first made an impression, some good distribution but it will take him awhile to grow into this role, could have done more to track Pulisic’s runs
James Milner – 5: Played the deep lying midfield role and put in some crunching tackles, got forward to unleash one curling shot that went just over the bar, involved with the incident that led to Dortmund’s penalty and again should have done more to block off Pulisic’s surges which led to the second and third goals
Naby Keita – 7: Another outstanding showing from the midfielder who prowled the centre of the park looking for possession, Klopp seemed to use him further forward with Milner taking the defensive midfield shift and it worked well, showed another side and created some great chances down the left, getting in good positions in the Dortmund box
Dominic Solanke – 4: Worked hard pressing but offered very little goal mouth threat, hard to see Klopp persisting with him as a back-up striker much longer especially with the option of Xherdan Shaqiri now available, failed to score from one delightful cross from Milner – has to be converting chances like that at this level, one superb ball through to Moreno
Daniel Sturridge – 7 : Continued his impressive pre-season and forming a very good understanding with Keita, one dribble and cross on the left hand side of the penalty area was superb with Ojo just not able to capitalize on the cross, another delightful ball for Solanke was also wasted, as was another perfect assist for Ojo, well ahead at this stage as a back-up striking option but as always the threat of injury looms,
Sheyi Ojo – 5: Showed off his blistering pace but is missing that close control to become a really deadly goal scorer, missed a guilt edge chance set up by Sturridge when he really should have done better to put Liverpool 2-0 up.
After the brutal injury that ended Mohamed Salah‘s participation in last season’s Champions League final against Real Madrid, Liverpool fans are understandably concerned that the Pharaoh King will be ready for the next season.
But Jurgen Klopp’s words in Charlotte ahead of the International Champions Cup clash with Borussia Dortmund will come as music to their ears.
The German manager said Salah would not take part in Sunday night’s match but he will be fit for the start of the Premier League season.
If you don’t believe us – check out Klopp’s press conference below.