‘Couldn’t care less’

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool will not be at their best for the Community Shield and face a “big fight” to overcome Manchester City. The Reds were beaten 1-0 at Red Bull Salzburg in a friendly on Wednesday ahead of their showdown with Pep Guardiola’s side at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. Klopp’s squad are currently on a week-long training camp in Austria with many of the expected starters against City restricted to just a half-hour run-out at the Red Bull Arena.

PLAYER RATINGS: Fabio Carvalho exciting and Joe Gomez rusty against Salzburg TRANSFER TALK: Roberto Firmino has already confirmed his stance on Liverpool exit And the Reds boss has dismissed fears over the physical condition of his team with start of the Premier League campaign now less than 10 days away.

“I understand people have to ask, but I couldn’t care less how they are at the moment because we have to get through this period immediately,” said Klopp. “It is a long season, then a long break in between (for the World Cup) and another pre-season, stuff like this, really strange. We have to make sure we are ready for that and not for tonight.

“We want to be ready for Saturday but it will be a big fight because we cannot be at our best. It’s pretty much impossible. The only good news is City are in the same situation as us.

“Salzburg have already been playing for two weeks, a league game and a cup game. In two weeks, we should look different.” Liverpool fielded a starting line-up heavily reliant on youngsters and new signings, and conceded the only goal on 31 minutes when highly-rated teenage forward Benjamin Sesko capitalised on some sloppy defending.

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A feisty encounter saw both sides pick up bookings while Klopp was unhappy on the touchline at some of Salzburg’s strong tackling.

“For Salzburg it was definitely no friendly, and for us as well,” said the Reds boss. “Salzburg had these kind of harsh challenges but they did really well. Sometimes I didn’t like the challenge too much but it’s fine. Nothing happened there I think (in terms of injuries).

“We played in the first half against a team that might play in the Champions League, and it’s a tough task for the line-up we chose. “In the first half we made too many mistakes which they could use. We had good moments as well and could have scored four or five goals in the whole game, but we didn’t do that because in the first half we were too open and too wide.

It was like a motorway with their speed, that’s how they got their chances.” Klopp added: “The last half-hour was like a thunderstorm. We were like a truck but we didn’t finish the situations off.

We should involve them (goals) in our games as well, but it will be fine. “It feels average to lose a game and that’s why we were all animated at the end with the possible penalty (after a tackle on Luis Diaz). It would have been nice to get a draw for the effort.

But the boys can do much better.

It doesn’t feel great but we take it and go from here.”