PREMIER LEAGUE

Klopp prefers Liverpool academy development to big signings

The Liverpool manager has made a promise to young players and their families ahead of the club's big game against rivals Manchester United.

Jürgen Klopp, with academy products Brannagan and Ojo during a game for Liverpool.
Paul Burrows Reuters

Liverpool-Manchester United Live

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp spoke about the importance of youth development during his interview with British media outlet the Mirror. This comes ahead of the club's huge Premier League match against historical rivals, Manchester United, now managed by José Mourinho.

Youth is the answer, not just huge transfers

And in a footballing world that is surrounded by so much hype around the biggest transfers possible and massive financial investments and advertising, it is refreshing to hear that some managers still value their academy set up and take pride in the youth players in their command.

“I can promise that before we sign a player who isn't a lot better than what we already have we will always use our own boys. That's how the future should be, even in the crazy football transfer world. We want to be this special club," Klopp explained.

"And it's important for us that even if they don't make it through at Liverpool that they've had the best education they could get. That's what we're working on. Nothing is finished yet," he continued. “We are all trying to improve. Improvement sometimes means to change something, sometimes it just means to wait.

The "special" Liverpool Academy

Although he has first team duties and many world stars already at his disposal, Klopp said he would love to be able to get to more youth games but time is against him so instead he maintains close relationships with the coaches of the younger teams.

“How I understand the job as the manager of the football club, you have to be interested in all that stuff. I've always been at clubs for the long-term so when I see a 16-year-old player who is good, I can always wait for him. That's why I am really interested in the talent group and all these boys.

“You need to be able to show families that it really makes sense for their boy to be part of the Liverpool Academy.

“We have these wonderful stories of boys coming to the club at the age of seven and staying here and playing for the club as a professional. Maybe for the Scouse people around that doesn't happen often enough!”

Advice for a 10-year old

Where the hard work is maintained and dreams aimed for.

“I'd always say to someone that age: 'Stay in your club, don't travel a lot, focus on your education. Just play football because it's the best game in the world, it's fun and play as often as you can.' It's better playing football 20 times a week in school than training three times a week with other players."

“For 10 or 12-year-olds it's more about individual education and development at that age. There will be a moment later when you are involved in team tactics.”

Developing a young squad

It is clear from his first year at the helm that Klopp's approach has been to foster a young squad with the key signings made in the summer to strengthen the team under 25 years of age: Mané (41.2 million euros), Wijnaldum (27.5 million euros).

The full interview can be read on the Mirror website. Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield on Monday 17 October for their Premier League fixture.