Football: Liverpool will keep players to build title-challenging squad - Klopp

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp watches the players warm up.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp watches the players warm up.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Liverpool are determined to end the trend of selling their best players during the close season in order to build a squad capable of consistently challenging for major honours, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Liverpool have sold a host of high-profile players, including strikers Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres, midfielders Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso, and winger Raheem Sterling to rival clubs in England and other European countries in recent years.

The Merseyside club have already had to fight off advances from French champions Paris St Germain to keep influential midfielder Philippe Coutinho, according to British media reports.

When asked if it was possible to stop key players leaving the Premier League club, Klopp told the Liverpool Echo: "Yes, I think we can do this. It's one of the targets for the coming years.

"There hasn't been a successful team in world football who change their squad every year. You need to need your key players. That's a very important thing.

"You have to create a situation where you are successful. A situation where everyone feels in a good way and we are strong enough and patient enough to keep them together. We say that same squad and consistency creates success."

Klopp has brought in several players including goalkeeper Loris Karius, attacking midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and forward Sadio Mane in the close season, and sold midfielder Joe Allen to Stoke City last month.

Another player who could be on his way out of the club is striker Christian Benteke, who did not make a single appearance in Liverpool's pre-season tour games in the United States.

The Belgium international has fallen down the pecking order behind Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi under Klopp, after enduring a difficult first season with the Merseyside club, scoring nine league goals in 29 appearances.

"Everyone knows about it and I think Christian Benteke has already said it that maybe it makes sense for him to go to another club," Klopp told reporters.

"If clubs want our strikers then they have to make real offers otherwise we will find solutions.

"He is still a great striker. We have a few more strikers and makes more sense for us to give them match time and that's what we have done."

Liverpool, who face Barcelona in a friendly at Wembley on Saturday, begin their new Premier League campaign with a tough trip to Arsenal on Aug 14.