Hong Kong trip a step into the unknown admits Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp as teams arrive for Premier League Asia Trophy
The Reds manager has never been to Asia before
This week’s Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong is a step into the unknown, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp admitted.
Klopp will be visiting Asia for the first time and said he had little idea what to expect.
“Let me go for the first time in my life to Asia, let me feel the circumstances, let me feel the temperature and all that stuff, so I have no idea. Then I can know what we can expect, not before then,” the German told the Liverpool Echo.
The last time the Asia Trophy was played in Hong Kong, non-stop rain meant it descended into farce, with managers branding the much-maligned Hong Kong Stadium pitch a “killer” surface and threatening to pull their teams out.
Thunderstorms, high heat and humidity are forecast this week, with officials at the Hong Kong Football Association praying a repeat of the worldwide negative headlines of 2013 will be avoided.
“All I can say is all the teams will have the same circumstances but we will see when we are there,” added Klopp.
“But we have to use this week to work under difficult circumstances to get each part we can get stronger to get stronger. Because after then we have the proper camp in Germany with the nice tournament in Munich with really good opponents again.
“So yes we will go in these games, we will try to win of course but we need to see what we can do there because the training is also very important.
“We cannot waste time and say for one week we will concentrate on two games and afterwards we’ll start pre-season again. So we need to do a lot, even in difficult circumstances.”
Liverpool will compete against Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace at Hong Kong Stadium on Wednesday and Saturday.
New signing Mohamed Salah scored in a friendly against Wigan on Friday and Hong Kong fans should see him in action after Klopp finalised his squad.
“[He was] very good,” said James Milner of his new teammate Salah. “He’s a top player, he’s shown that in the little time that he’s been here and I’ve seen it playing up close also.
“He’s a great addition to the squad and it was nice for him to get off the mark as well,” he told Liverpool’s website.
Mamadou Sakho, Lazar Markovic and Sheyi Ojo – all linked with moves away from Anfield – have been left out, while Emre Can is still on a break after the Confederations Cup and Sadio Mane has been left at home to work on his fitness after injury.
Liverpool’s first match is against Palace, with their new manager Frank de Boer hoping to use the trip to get to know more about his players.
“I think team bonding is very important,” he told Palace’s website. “They are spending more time together than with their families so it’s a good opportunity to get that feeling with each other.
“The other side, it’s a different culture. It’s about mentality, the heat you have to deal with. As a manager you can see who’s dealing well with it. So you get a good thought about the group.”
Leicester City were almost relegated last season after their stunning championship win the season before, and their manager Craig Shakespeare hopes to win over some new fans.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for us,” he told the Premier League website.
“We can bed the new lads in but also showcase Leicester City. You see how fanatical the Asian supporters are. It’ll be a full house.“