Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool have been “affected” by a tough pre-season after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield, but said he was encouraged by the Reds’ performance at Wembley.
Liverpool lost three and drew one of their five pre-season friendlies heading into their 1-1 Community Shield draw and subsequent 5-4 shoot-out defeat to City.
The European champions suffered defeats to Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli, drew with Sporting CP and beat Lyon during a run that left Klopp with mixed feelings ahead of his side’s Premier League season opener against Norwich City on Friday.
Reflecting on Liverpool’s performance against City, he said: “I thought they looked pretty hungry. That doesn’t mean it will work out but we fought today.
“After all the things that were said about the competition, both teams wanted to win it desperately, I saw that.
“My team is not in doubt about being satisfied or whatever, to stop working or stop running. The character of the team is still incredibly good.
“We had a difficult pre-season but the boys did what they had to do and were affected by it. We played football games against really good teams and that didn’t feel too good.
“It was very important we all gave ourselves and our supporters a sign of the performance today. Now let’s carry on.”
Klopp said his squad to face Norwich would be boosted by the return of vice-captain James Milner, who missed the trip to Wembley due to a muscle strain.
Milner, 33, played a vital role in Liverpool’s successes last season, making 31 Premier League appearances and 12 in the Champions League.
The versatile midfielder will rejoin the squad in plenty of time to face Norwich, according to Klopp, who said: “It was a minor muscle injury. I would say he can probably train tomorrow, although I am not 100 per cent sure.
“For today it did not work out, but I think by at least Tuesday he can train.”