Jürgen Klopp: We want to be the spot for everybody with a Scouse soul

Jürgen Klopp wants Liverpool to be the destination for ‘Scouse souls’ as he reinforced the importance of providing a pathway for Academy players.

Curtis Jones was on the scoresheet in Liverpool’s Premier League outing with Aston Villa on Sunday just a day after signing a new long-term contract, while 17-year-old Harvey Elliott penned his first professional deal with the club at the start of the week.

Speaking at a press conference previewing Wednesday’s clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, Klopp explained the ‘door is really wide open’ for talented and hungry young footballers.

Read below for the boss’ thoughts…

On how the future looks for Liverpool…

Good. But it depends on how you see the future. What is the future? In my life, there was never a period where I knew less about my future. I pretty often didn’t know how it would be. But the future of all of us, I think it’s the first time that no one knows exactly how it will be. We cannot cut that off the general situation. The general situation is that we’re all waiting for a vaccine against this awful disease. That’s the future of all of us. As a football club, we are not worried about the future: we have a good team and we have a good age group. The future is already prepared with a few really, really good footballers around us and I’m really happy that the boys see it the same way. I’ve said a lot of times, for young players, the biggest plus they have is time. But in the moment when they lose patience, things can go not exactly like they should go.

Our boys want to play and be involved, see every day in training that they are really close, but are not losing patience for it not working out tomorrow and playing 90 minutes every three days. We try to help them as much as we can to become the best player they can be. We do that with all the players, but with the younger ones, the responsibility on our side is obviously even bigger. I really like that these boys are committed 100 per cent to that way, and it’s a wonderful sign for all of us. How I said, the next few [players] are already lined up, if you want. Our Academy is producing a lot of good players in the last few years and we are really happy that the boys want to be part of that process, even when it’s then the first time in their life they don’t play week in, week out. But they have a lot to learn and we give them the time to do so.

On always having a local player in a Premier League squad…

I don’t know if that will always be possible, to be honest. I think it’s a bit easier for the London clubs. I’m not sure if they have to come from Chelsea directly to be a local lad, or if it’s allowed that you’re from another part of London and it’s local. We try and we want to be the spot for everybody with a Scouse soul. It’s not a competition with Everton, but if you love football, you’re talented and ready to work hard, then we want you to be here. For that, we need to show the boys that there is a way through. We have to show perspective, that’s our responsibility. It’s really nice that the boys are now so close to it; Trent made it and the three others are really close to getting through. That’s an important sign for all the other kids around: this is a club where you can have pretty much everything. You can play together with world-class players; you can train with them and you can make sure that you improve as much as you can. Then, the club is ready to give you a chance. If that will always be the case, depends on the boys. We cannot create a football player if the football player is not ready for it. If you’re a talented boy and have the desire to improve, the door is really wide open.

On the possibility of more game-time in the Premier League next season for Jones, Elliott and Neco Williams…

That’s always the plan. One is about education and the other is then showing that education works, training works and that they’re ready. We don’t only have the boys here because they are nice, humble, good-looking or whatever. They are here because, in the moment, they mainly get the benefit from what we do but that’s a fair deal because, in the end, we get the benefit from what they’re doing. That’s how it is and that’s how you deal with your kids. What pleases me the most about it is that the boys are so humble and hard-working in that age group. The perfect scenario is that we have role-model professionals around, these slightly elder guys, who just show how you have to be if you want to make your way. If the boys follow this path, with the talent they have, it’s pretty likely that they will have a proper career. That’s good news.

You need luck injury-wise and stuff like this but, here, we will always try to use them as often as possible. The dream is to have all boys but it will not happen now in the next five years, but maybe in 10 years it would be great if we could have a team full of Scousers, why not? That’s not a bad thing to be a Scouser, it’s a good thing because they are hard-working and it’s clear that they will fight like crazy. A few things are really nice already in the characteristics of a Scouser. Good. But the door is open for all the other boys who want to play football, good football. Liverpool is a very open-minded club.

On Neco Williams becoming Trent Alexander-Arnold’s understudy…

There’s always a picture now. Neco made exactly the same steps like Harvey and Curtis, for example. Neco is a bit lucky now with the full-back situation: we have actually two plus Neco, three plus Millie [Milner] and Joe [Gomez] who we can. It’s a little bit easier to have minutes in a very intense time than it is, for example, Harvey. But that doesn’t mean Harvey does not make big steps. It’s unbelievable, he’s still 17. It’s unbelievable how good he is. Timing is always important in life and whatever you can create by yourself, whatever you can create by yourself, whatever we can produce together and by ourselves, the better it is. It saves money, of course. But on the other side, these boys need time. But we will use them as often as possible, that’s the plan with them. Whatever we can save out there, in the crazy world of the transfer market, is good of course. But the boys have to commit.

Neco Williams: I watch and learn from Trent every day at Melwood

That’s why I’m so happy about the two contracts [Harvey and Curtis] as there is always an easier way, if you want. You can either make sure that you are now in the best place and it means playing week in, week out or that you prepare your career. And we are here for preparing careers until the moment is there until the boys can play week in, week out. How I said, as long as the boys are committed to that way, it will be really good for them. We have proven in the past and I proved it probably at Dortmund and now here at Liverpool since we were here, it’s not about how old you are, it’s not about who you are, it’s only about how good you are and then you will play.

On the club’s plan for Rhian Brewster, who is out on loan at Swansea City…

For the plans with Rhian, we talk to Rhian and not here. There’s nothing to say really. Yes, it was unbelievably important and I was really happy that we had the opportunity to do so [go out on loan]. He plays his first proper senior year; he had an awful injury and needed a really long time. That’s why we said when he came back it doesn’t make sense to be a striker sometimes in the squad, sometimes not. It was clear that his situation is different to a lot of other situations from the boys in the club and I was really happy that he could go to his former coach, who he knew from the youth national teams. That helped a lot and they really wanted him and that’s very important for a young striker because you cannot score every week and you should still stay on the pitch. It happened now at Swansea and he has played a good season. Rhian has shown absolutely his talent, that’s clear. In the moment, nearly perfect how it is. But how it will be next year, we will talk about it with him and his representatives.