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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Gomez and Sturridge set for key roles at Liverpool as Klopp rules out signing new defender

Premier League club concluded their pre-season tour of the United States with a thumping 4-1 win over fierce rivals Manchester United

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is not expecting to sign any new defenders this summer, insisting Joe Gomez is a better option than anyone he could find in the transfer market.

Liverpool completed their pre-season tour of the United States with a 4-1 thrashing of fierce rivals Manchester United in Michigan on Saturday.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring from the penalty spot, before Andreas Pereira quickly equalised for United. However, second half goals from Daniel Sturridge, Sheyi Ojo and a stunning overhead kick from new signing Xherdan Shaqiri ensured a comfortable victory for Liverpool.

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After a summer in which Liverpool have spent a reported €180 million (Dh771.8m), including a world record deal for goalkeeper Alisson Becker, optimism is high for the upcoming season.

And while central defence has been a problematic area for Liverpool under Klopp, the German manager is happy with his options and will not be searching for a new partner for Virgil van Dijk.

"No, I am happy with our players, to be honest, so I don’t see the need," Klopp said. "When you see Joe Gomez playing in that role tonight as a central defender, he combines a lot of things you don’t find in the transfer market, to be honest.

"I can’t see in the moment the need, but there are 12 days to go and a lot of things can happen. You ask me now and I say no, but maybe if you ask me tomorrow I will say something different."

Gomez is not the only player to impress Klopp in pre-season as England striker Sturridge looks set for an important role in the upcoming campaign.

Sturridge has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons and was sent on-loan to West Bromwich Albion in January, where injury struck once again and he was limited to six appearances.

But the former Chelsea and Manchester City forward has been a constant presence in pre-season and Klopp reiterated his plans for Sturridge.

"You can see that he is enjoying himself in the moment. The most important thing, we always said, is that Daniel stays fit," Klopp said. "Hopefully [he will be] very important.

"We have a fantastic relationship, that’s how it is. I like him a lot as a person and as a player especially. He is an outstanding player. When I came here, I was very excited about the fact I will work together with him back in 2015.

"Since then he has had a few injury issues and we couldn’t change that, he couldn’t change that, it happened. There is no doubt about his quality, if Daniel Sturridge is fit, he will play a role in the team, 100 per cent. Does he have to play 50-something games? No. But hopefully a few really good ones. That’s the plan."

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