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Klopp: It's all about doing it again and again

Liverpool's quest to maintain standards as Leeds mark return

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ALL GOOD: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the ongoing contract situation with midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is 'absolutely fine'

ALL GOOD: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the ongoing contract situation with midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is 'absolutely fine'

PA

ALL GOOD: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the ongoing contract situation with midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is 'absolutely fine'

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the defence of their Premier League title is the best problem they can have.

The Reds raced to their first title for 30 years with seven matches to spare of an interrupted season but even before the silverware was lifted at Anfield's last game of the campaign, questions were already being asked about whether they could repeat the feat.

Manchester City have been made the slight favourites and Klopp knows it will not be easy to maintain the standards which have seen his side record 99 and 97 points in the last two seasons - losing just four times in that spell - but that is what he expects.

"Winning the league last year is the best problem you can have," he said.

"If it's a problem then I don't know it, but everybody else is giving me a feeling that it should be a problem.

"Everybody wants to become champions, and that's not news to me as I knew it before.

"It's all about how we can put these intense performances on the pitch again and again and again.

"The Premier League is the strongest league in the world, and that means we have more competitors than we really need."

Top flight

Liverpool face an intriguing test in their opening match at home to Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds, winners of the Championship and back in the top flight after 16 years.

Bielsa has inspired a number of the world's top coaches - Manchester City's Pep Guardiola and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino - but what Klopp recalls is the Argentinian's famed work ethic and (sometimes questionable) methods.

"I admire him but I was never close enough to him to really follow him," said the Reds boss.

"Maybe the hardest working of all us, I don't think we can compete with him in that area.

"When I think about the analysis he presented around the Derby game (Leeds were fined £200,000 for spying on Derby's training session in 2019)... that was funny as well.

"We didn't see any suspicious people around our training ground this week so it's all fine."

There has been some criticism from sections of a demanding fanbase unhappy that the only transfer business Liverpool have done so far is the £11.7million signing of Kostas Tsimikas as cover for left-back Andy Robertson, having sold defender Dejan Lovren to Zenit St Petersburg and allowed midfielder Adam Lallana to leave after the expiry of his contract.

Barcelona are also circling after expressing interest in Georginio Wijnaldum, whose current deal runs out next summer, Klopp insists the situation with the midfielder is not a concern.

"Absolutely fine about the future as far as we are involved with that," he said of reports former Holland coach Ronald Koeman wants to be reunited with the Dutch international at the Nou Camp.

"I cannot speak about the future in a few years but it is all fine. It's all good for the moment."

Supporters have been clamouring for the signing of Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara, a player Klopp likes, but that will not happen unless money is raised from somewhere else or Wijnaldum leaves for Spain.

"If I could invent a word now that would end speculation, I could become really rich," said Klopp.

"I can't end speculation as long as the transfer window is open, that's all I can say. Did I mention that Thiago Alcantara is a really good player? Long ago.

"It's nice that we are linked with him but that's pretty much all, really."

Meanwhile, Bielsa has refused to speculate about how he thinks Leeds will fare in their first season back in the Premier League.

Baptism

Leeds face a baptism of fire on Saturday when they launch their long-awaited top-flight return at champions Liverpool.

Bielsa, who will remain at Elland Road for a third season after Leeds announced on Friday morning he had finally signed his new deal, has also declined to set his side any targets.

"I don't like to predict so far into the future because I don't know what is going to happen," said the Argentinian.

"It's very difficult to anticipate and predict what's going to happen when there is a change in league and change in quality."