Wenger on what gives him confidence ahead of the new season.
I think we have stability. We finished second last season and we have all the desire to improve as a team, so we know that we have to jump forward and continue to improve. That’s why I believe that our pre-season games were encouraging. But of course now we go for points and want to transfer the confidence we got from our pre-season into efficiency in the championship.
When asked whether he is as excited as ever for the new season
Yes, I must say even more so. There is anxiety because you want to do well and you know how important it is, and maybe this season more than ever it looks like every club has new ambition so it promises to be a very exciting one and a very difficult one as well. We are on a good run in the Premier League… a 10-game unbeaten run, and we want to continue that. I think we are focused, we have a huge desire in the squad, we are very ambitious and we are humble enough as well to know that it is difficult in every single game to win in the Premier League.
The managers thoughts on six or seven teams being in the title race.
From last season you have two [pieces of] information. First, it’s not necessarily the club who invested the most who won the championship or who had been at the top. The second thing is that teams like Leicester created a huge surprise. Will that be repeated by Leicester or somebody else? That makes the contest even more difficult.
On the favourites to win the title..
I don’t know. Everybody wonders what will happen there and everybody will be keen to see the results of the first game to see where the strengths and weaknesses are. It is very difficult this season to predict and give any favourites. You cannot dismiss Liverpool, just like anybody else. We have about eight or nine teams that can [feel] they have a chance to win it.
JURGEN KLOPP BELIEVES THAT CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Jugen Klopp told his pre-match press conference at Melwood: “Consistency is the only way to be successful. All of these big jumps in performance, up and down, don’t help. It’s possible because we are all human beings and things can happen that should not happen too often.
“Consistency is the way we have to choose and for this we have to prepare always for the next game very seriously during the week and by being at 100 per cent when we start.
“We have a lot of things to do, but the main thing we have to do at weekends is win games and for this you always have to be in the best shape you can be. That’s a big, big challenge.”
Part of the efforts into trying to enhance Liverpool’s consistency have included sessions on fluid and flexible responses to an opposing team’s set-up and finding the correct methods to break them down.
Klopp continued: “Different things have influence on consistency – the style of play, the shape, the injury situation… a lot of things.
“The biggest advantage Leicester had last year was not that they didn’t have to play that many games because they could have had injuries with fewer games, but they could play nearly the whole season with the same team. That helps if it’s good – and the team was obviously good and they came into a run.
“There are different ways to be successful and in the end, to moan about a situation is the first thing you should not do. If you have injuries, you have to take the situation like it is. If you lost the last game, you have to use this defeat. If you won the last game, you have to use it.
“All of this is difficult because it’s the Premier League and your own shape is only one of the things that is important, the shape of the other team is pretty important too. That’s what we’ve tried to do in pre-season – to be more independent to the style of play of the other team. If they defend deep, we cannot change it – we cannot say, ‘come on, it’s boring, give us a little bit of space to play’.
“If they only play counter-attack, if they play high pressure, all that stuff, you need to always have a solution. That’s what we were working on. In general, and now in this week, we thought about things we have to do especially in the Arsenal game.”