Jurgen Klopp is surveying his options in midfield this season. They don’t include Jude Bellingham or the Golden Cow, but he is content nonetheless. If the Borussia Dortmund teenager represents the dream signing for many a Liverpool supporter, the other is a construct of Klopp’s imagination, a seemingly mythical creature able to deliver anything and everything.

The Golden Cow, a product of Klopp’s ability to conjure a memorable phrase, may sound more like a takeaway, but also serves as shorthand for the impossibility of pleasing everyone; especially in the transfer market.

The Liverpool manager possesses the ability to connect with people, to carry them with him and influence the wider world. Recruitment can be a rare ability where he is out of step with popular opinion. It feels as if the majority of the Liverpool fanbase believe they require another midfielder. Klopp does not.

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“If the situation stays like it is, then tell me why?” he asked. “I don’t understand. I do not understand. People told me about this discussion, but the last thing that would have crossed my mind is that we have to do this [sign a midfielder].” Unless anyone asks to leave, and no one has, he is not looking to buy. “I can say that,” he confirmed.

The regular criticism is that Liverpool lack a scorer from the centre of the park, a modern-day Steven Gerrard. The last midfielder to get double figures in a season for Klopp was Philippe Coutinho.

Klopp prefers industry to incision, though Liverpool’s results and medal collection since the Brazilian’s departure offer vindication. The manager is nevertheless aware of the perception. “I know all these things, that we don’t score enough goals from midfield, this and that, but what do we want? This ‘Golden Cow’ that is producing absolutely everything, milk as well,” he said.

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“We can go through it. Where do you want to start?

“So, Fabinho, [Jordan] Henderson, Thiago, [James] Milner, [Naby] Keita, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Fabio Carvalho, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain. Now you tell me what kind of player are we missing? One who is offensive, 1.95m and arrives into the box to head balls in?” Deliberately or not, that description sounded more like the towering Marouane Fellaini than Gerrard. But by listing the contenders, Klopp underlined the reality he already has nine options for three places. As he argued, he does not want to depress his summer signing Carvalho by relegating him in the queue.

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The case for Bellingham is less that he is a different kind of midfielder – and certainly not a giant to head in crosses – as much as the kind of extreme talent who represents an upgrade. “He’s not on the market, so that’s the first problem with that player,” said Klopp, whose Dortmund connections equip him to know they are not going to sell this summer. He did not deny he is an admirer; his subsequent remark may set the tone for a 2023 move. “Well, the only problem with that player.”

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Comparisons with Manchester City, who have raided Dortmund this year, abound and while both have signed a high-level striker this summer, in Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez respectively, a difference is that Pep Guardiola has added a defensive midfielder, in Kalvin Phillips. It was instructive, therefore, when Klopp cited another forged by Leeds as one of his three possible holding players: Milner, who he has tended to use as a No. 8.

The vice-captain will turn 37 in January. Perhaps a 2015 free transfer is buying Klopp time before he bolsters the midfield. Milner is a symbolic figure in some respects, given his manager’s belief the answer can often lie within and with his capacity to reinvent players, and an anomaly in others.

Klopp has a faith in youth and a sense there is untapped potential inside the club. He has never sought signings for signings’ sake, especially when they will be a roadblock to the ambitions of the emerging. Now he has a trio, each also capable of operating in his front three.

“Creativity? If we bring in a player just for that, we immediately make it more difficult for Harvey, Curtis and Fabio,” he said. “We should not forget that last season, in the first four games, Harvey Elliott was the best player. He was outstanding. Then he had a bad injury. Curtis Jones: what a player he is. Fabio: you look at him and what he did at Fulham.

“Why should we bring a boy in and tell him he is midfielder number nine? It makes no sense. You have to leave the doors open for the boys.”

Carvalho is a buy who nonetheless suits Klopp’s ethos. He has never felt the transfer market and, in particular, paying exorbitant sums in it, solves everything.

Almost seven years into his reign, his nine midfielders include two he inherited, in Henderson and Milner, a product of the youth system in Jones and two more picked up as teenagers, in Elliott and Carvalho. Much of a Klopp midfield does not come from him spending heavily.

“We always try to improve, and we can improve internally as well,” he said, enthusing about Tyler Morton’s “incredible” performances as a No. 8 in training, rather than unveiling Bellingham.

It is why the debate about midfield reinforcements may rage outside Anfield, but not within its doors. “I really don’t understand the discussion,” said Klopp. And, unless Liverpool’s fine scouting team identify the Golden Cow, the subject feels closed. For him, anyway.

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