Jurgen Klopp wants his players to be angry with him… because it means he will have created a winning mentality.
The German has been emphatic in his assertion the Reds will not sell a single player he wants to keep. His target is to have two equally-matched players vying for each position, and if that means some players lashing out at him, then he will gladly take it on the chin.
Talking about wanted-man Coutinho, Klopp said: “Everybody thought, ‘He’s going, he’s going, he’s going’ but so far, nobody is going.
“If we stay together, there will be a few hard decisions because only 11 players can start a match. If some are angry with me, no problem — three days later, there is another game…”
Klopp, waiting on Friday’s draw for the Champions League play-off round that will decide who advances to the group stage, could be handed a reunion with one of the first players he upset upon arriving at Anfield.
Balotelli responded with some stinging criticism of the German’s management style, but the Reds’ boss offers no apologies for his determination to make his side play better by bringing in top-level stars to challenge those already there.
“I always said I wanted to improve this team and there are two ways of doing that – by training and by signing new players. We have done both,” he said.
“The signings are good. Either they play or they push another player. Now it’s more difficult to play all the time.”
Only Mohamed Salah has so far arrived as a likely first-choice player but more will follow, with centre-back Virgil van Dijk inching towards a move from Southampton.
Already Klopp has selection dilemmas.
In Germany, on Liverpool’s pre-season tour , the likes of Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum — two of the stars of last season — found themselves outside the starting XI.
That is precisely what the manager wants.
He will fight tooth and nail to ensure Coutinho stays, but he will fight just as hard to keep hold of players such as Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, even though they may not be guaranteed a
That’s the new reality.