Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp addressed the media ahead of the Reds’ UEFA Super Cup tie and explained how he wanted Istanbul to become a special place once more.
The Reds’ history with the city is of course founded on the incredible 2005 triumph in the Champions League, but as the boss pointed out, this is a different side.
While the supporters won’t be forgetting what happened 14 years ago on May 25 any time soon, a new set of memories could be created this year.
First up comes the Super Cup itself on Wednesday night, but the Champions League final will also be held in the city at the end of the campaign; Liverpool will be defending that trophy this year, but the boss obviously isn’t putting any pressure of expectation on the team by saying it’ll be retained.
Instead, the next game is the next opportunity, for success and memories to be made.
“I know about the special importance for Istanbul for Liverpool fans. But we are different people, we are now the 2019/20 team, a pretty good one as well,” he told journalists.
“It’s always a good place for football, there’s a big community of Liverpool supporters in Istanbul and in Turkey. That makes it special for us.
“We are fresh and want to play and hope we can make it a special place for ourselves.”
It’s all systems go once more as they chase the holy grail, the Premier League, but with plenty of other competitions to fight for this term it’s a balancing act for the boss: get the players up to speed before any opportunities are lost, but also at the right time for the biggest clutch of games.
Klopp openly points out that the squad won’t be at peak fitness yet for another month or more, but this is a chance to collect silverware regardless.
“Winning games always helps, winning titles helps. That’s what everyone asks us for. But it has nothing to do with the Premier League. We are here, everything is prepared, let’s go.
“We won one competition, that’s all, so how can we change mentality? We are built to be successful and that’s what we try to do. Tomorrow night, the same.
“It was a difficult pre-season, you never know exactly how it will work out in the early games. I was really happy with the game against Man City; completely normal [to have] some problems because they are a very good side, but second half, [we were] really there.
“Physically we are exactly where we want to be, not yet 100 per cent, that’s for September, October. All the rest is no problem.”
One further question to the boss was on the future of Dejan Lovren.
The centre-back was omitted from the travelling squad for the Super Cup, officially due to illness, though media speculation has suggested he’s on the verge of a move to Italy.
Klopp had little to say on the matter, insisting he had “no idea” whether the Croatian would leave Anfield.
“It’s because he’s ill,” said the boss over the No. 6’s absence. “We will see what happens. In general, not only in this!”
The Reds have three senior centre-backs in Istanbul for the game in Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Lovren was left out of the squad for Friday’s win over Norwich and Sepp van den Berg was signed over the summer as a future prospect at the back.