'We've to do it one way... My way'

Reds boss Klopp says his methods are not negotiable, players must conquer the ball

LONDON • Juergen Klopp laid down the law to his Liverpool players on his first day in the job, telling them that the playing style he intends to implement is non-negotiable and that the days of slow-paced possession football are over.

In a robust and unequivocal explanation of how he envisages the English Premier League football club playing under his management, the German made it clear that he will not tolerate individuals veering away from his methods and demanded total obedience as he sets about reinvigorating the Merseyside outfit.

Klopp said his ambition for Liverpool was not to conquer the world but "conquer the ball each time", as he warned players his method was the only way to succeed at Anfield.

"I am not the guy who is going to go out and shout, 'We are going to conquer the world!' or something like this," he said. "But we will conquer the ball, each f****** time.

"We will chase the ball. We will run more, fight more.

"The only thing I need is players that want to help the team. They have to listen to what I say.

"That is very important because I believe it is better to have 11 players do the same thing wrong than everybody doing what they want.

"We have to do it one way and that is my way.

"Now we cannot talk about football philosophy and ball possession, playing like Barcelona, playing like whoever. No, this team needs to create their own style.

"If you have the ball, you have to be creative but you have to be prepared that if you lose the ball, the counter-pressing is very important.

"It is very important in football. It is not a proposal, it is law.

"You have to do it and you will."

Klopp revealed he spent his four months out of the game - after leaving Borussia Dortmund - with family, playing tennis and watching football around the world.

While he joined Liverpool despite being linked with title-challenging teams guaranteeing Champions League football such as Bayern Munich, he denied relishing an underdog status.

"(Do) I enjoy being an underdog? No," he said, laughing. "For managers, it is very important that you can influence the things on the pitch, that you can change the things in a better direction, of course."

The Stuttgart-born coach made frequent references to the Premier League's obsession with money and, in another departure from several previous Liverpool managers, insisted it would not define his ability to construct a successful team.

Asked whether the Reds could attract a player of the calibre of Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus without Champions League football, having failed to entice several top targets during Brendan Rodgers' reign, Klopp replied: "I absolutely don't care about this.

"If we cannot sign a player like him, then we are not interested in him. We will have to take other players. The whole world plays football, there are players everywhere.

"It is only here that money is such a big thing... You have to look at which players are reachable and not dream of this player or that player and then say, 'But they don't want to come to Liverpool.'

"If a player doesn't want to come to Liverpool, then stay away. Really. If you think about the weather, stay away. If you want to come here, you are welcome."

Klopp admitted that he had watched Liverpool's last three games before his appointment - against Everton (1-1), FC Sion in the Europa League (1-1) and a 3-2 win over Aston Villa eight days before Rodgers' departure.

"Three until now and ask me on Sunday and I will have seen 20," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline ''WE'VE TO DO IT ONE WAY... MY WAY''. Print Edition | Subscribe