Chelsea’s youthful new-look squad reminds Juergen Klopp of his Bundesliga-winning former Borussia Dortmund team, the Liverpool manager said on Friday.
With Chelsea operating under a transfer ban, manager Frank Lampard has turned to the young players in their ranks and the policy has come good so far with all their goalscorers this season being academy players, such as Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
Klopp won two league titles and a domestic cup in Germany between 2010 and 2012 with a young squad and the 52-year-old saw similarities in Lampard’s side, saying the transfer ban has not really affected Chelsea thanks to their youth policy.
“It’s a really exciting team. It reminds me a little bit of my team at Dortmund years back when they were really young, maybe even younger than this team at Chelsea,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge.
“People were always talking about how young they are but they only played because they were good. They didn’t play because they were that young.
“If there was one club in the world who a transfer ban didn’t hit that bad, it was probably Chelsea because of their policy of the last few years. They had players on loan who have come back.”
Although new recruit Christian Pulisic is yet to hit the ground running for Chelsea, Klopp said their academy players have stepped up with the support of the experienced players in the squad.
“They brought in Christian Pulisic in the summer, I’m not sure about the money but for around 60 million pounds ($75 million), and all of the players around him now have the same value,” Klopp added.
“Tammy Abraham is now a 60 million pound player, Mason Mount is for sure a 60 million pound player, if not more, (Callum) Hudson-Odoi was that already… (N’Golo) Kante, who looks like he could play for the next 20 years.
“They have Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and then all the experienced guys around them — Pedro, Willian, Olivier Giroud and on the bench Michy Batshuayi.”
Klopp confirmed midfielder Naby Keita was back training with the first team. Striker Divock Origi is unlikely to play on Sunday while Alisson is making progress in his recovery from a calf injury.
“(Alisson is) not in team training yet and we take it day by day,” Klopp said. “We will see, too early to say. Medical department will tell me.”