Jurgen Klopp described the arrival of Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte in England as “exciting” but said that English football places a higher importance on the role of managers in the game.
Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester City gives Liverpool boss Klopp the chance to reignite the rivalry he had with the Spaniard when the pair were both managers in the Bundesliga, while Conte will aim to return Chelsea to the Premier League’s top four.
But Klopp said it was hard work – and not big names – that would be decisive this season.
He told a news conference: “Of course it will make a big difference, having Conte and Guardiola. I think it would make an even bigger difference if they could still play!
“It’s exciting for everyone having big names in the league. But there can only be one winner in the league.
“It’s England, and in England – in public – the managers have a more ‘special’ role than maybe in other countries. But it’s one part of the performance but not more.
“We all have to work, and it’s not about the names – it’s about the performance on the pitch.
“We will all have problems during the season, and we all will have difficult moments, and it’s about finding the solutions. We have tried to prepare for that in this pre-season.
Asked about his side’s title chances ahead of their Premier League opening-day fixture against Arsenal, Klopp insisted that anything was possible and said he hoped his players would benefit from the lack of European competition at Anfield this season.
“There is absolutely nothing positive about not being in Europe apart from having more time to train in,” said Klopp.
“That’s what we expect from ourselves: to use this time. That’s what we have to do.
“We want to fight for everything. We’re not looking for excuses. In this moment everything is possible.”