London (dpa) – Jürgen Klopp wouldn’t mind if superstar Lionel Messi switched to Liverpool after his announced departure from FC Barcelona. Even if a dedication to the England football champions is considered unrealistic.
“Who doesn’t want Messi on their team?” Klopp said. “But there is no chance. Still a good player of course.” Liverpool’s rivals and number two Manchester City are considered the best candidates for a possible signing of the 33-year-old Argentinian. “Of course it would help Man City and make it harder to beat them,” said Klopp. “That would be great for the Premier League. But I’m not sure the league needs another boost.”
The Liverpool coach would still welcome the change. “Messi has never played in any league other than Spain,” said Klopp. “Football is different here. I’d love to see it. But I’m not sure it will happen.”
Klopp spoke at the press conference for the Supercup between champions Liverpool and cup winner Arsenal FC on Saturday. The match takes place just five weeks after the last preseason league game. The Reds’ preparation time was minimal. “Do I want to play a real game after just two weeks of preparation? No!” Said Klopp. “But we’ve known that for a while.”
The Super Cup, called Community Shield in England, is not a high priority. It’s more of a better friendly and final form check before the Premier League starts. Even if those involved deny it every year – like Klopp. “I don’t care what other people think about it,” he confirmed. “We just have to perform in the game. It’s about fighting hard and being fully involved. We really have to try. We really want that.”
His counterpart Mikel Arteta is also not exactly happy with the timing of the match. “We only had two training sessions and this game comes in the middle of our mini pre-season, so this is not the ideal time to play,” said the Arsenal coach. “We’re trying to come to an agreement and get the team in the best possible shape to keep up on Saturday.”
The direct history of the two Super Cup opponents is almost opposite. Liverpool secured their long-awaited first championship in 30 years ahead of schedule in an excellent Premier League season. Klopp’s team failed in all other competitions. In the competition, the Reds, who won the Champions League a year earlier, are now going hunters.
Arsenal, on the other hand, had a totally wasted season in the Premier League, which led to the change of coach from Unai Emery to Mikel Arteta last December. Although he was no longer able to qualify for a European competition with Arsenal via the table, he made the leap to the Europa League with the FA Cup triumph. Areta and his team, in which the German former world champion Mesut Özil probably no longer plays a role, now want to confirm the revival of the last few weeks in the Supercup.
“It’s not a friendly, it’s a real game against Arsenal,” said Klopp. But without full preparation and without fans, who are still not allowed to be there due to the coronavirus crisis, it can be difficult to shake off the feeling of a friendly match in the deserted Wembley Stadium.