Liverpool no longer a stepping stone for top players - Jurgen Klopp
LIVERPOOL, England -- Jurgen Klopp has said Sadio Mane committing his future to Liverpool is the latest example of top players no longer viewing the club as a stepping stone to greater things.
Liverpool announced on Thursday that Mane had agreed terms on a new long-term contract following Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, who both signed five-year deals at Anfield in April and July respectively.
Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling have all left Liverpool in recent years in big-money transfers, but Klopp feels the club are now in a position to convince players that staying put is best for their careers.
"It's not that I say to him: 'Good morning Sadio, you are world class,' but it is obvious sometimes that he is not aware of that," Klopp said at a news conference.
"We all expect these boys to be finished in their development pretty early in their life. But he's coming up to the best years of his career and he did really well without acknowledging it.
"I'm really pleased, really happy about the fact he's signed this contract. It's really a big signing. If a player is in a very good moment in his career and you can extend the contract, it's more than just a signing, it's a statement. I'm happy about that.
"It shows a bit of the change the club made in the last few years. A few years ago it constantly happened that players in a very good moment thought they had to leave the club to make the next step.
"Now our boys obviously think they can make the next step here. That's good."
On the subject of players leaving Liverpool, Klopp rejected the idea that summer signing Fabinho was unhappy and would leave the club in January.
The Brazil international, who has played eight times for Liverpool following his move from Monaco, has been linked with a return to France at Paris Saint-Germain.
"He's settled, yes," Klopp said. "He played three of the last four, no? He played, he did well.
"Now the most intense period of the year is coming up. He used the time to adjust to what we want, which was really good in the last games he played.
"Of course he will not leave. I don't talk about transfers, but if anybody asks then nobody leaves here. That would be completely crazy. He doesn't want to.
"It's just the crazy world out there where if a player doesn't play in the last five games, you open kind of a transfer market. We are not involved in that."
Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge's recent charges from the Football Association in relation to alleged breaches of their rules on betting have had no impact on the striker's performances and attitude in training, according to Klopp.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Sturridge has asked for more to respond to the FA's charges and is free to play while the process plays out.
"I obviously know about the case," Klopp said "You don't see any influence on Daniel in training, so that's good.
"I don't know, I cannot say actually, anything about the case. It is difficult to get information about it but in training he is completely normal -- in good shape, looks sharp, looks focused.
"But of course it is something you do not want to be involved in. But from my point of view, and until someone tells me something different and as long as he trains well, he is 100 percent in contention."
Adam Lallana has been ruled out of the trip to Watford because of a minor issue, while Jordan Henderson is now considered to be fit after returning to Melwood early from international duty.