'He wants to improve' - Klopp commends Ox self-criticism

Jürgen Klopp welcomed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's self-criticism as a commendable character trait after the Liverpool midfielder expressed frustration with his performance against Swansea City.

The No.21 added further gloss to an emphatic 5-0 result at Anfield on Boxing Day with the final goal of the evening, as the Reds returned to the Premier League top four in style.

But, in a frank post-match interview, Oxlade-Chamberlain made a point of sharing his annoyance that his overall contribution was not as significant as he wished.

Such sentiments must be music to Klopp’s ears?

“I would like to hear they are happy with their performance because the performance was good!” the boss replied to Liverpoolfc.com with a smile.

LFCTV GO: Klopp on Oxlade-Chamberlain and Klavan

“Ox is a smart player. He knew it was not even close to his best possible performance, but it’s no problem, that’s football.

“You have to win the game somehow on an average day as well. It was not an average day but it was not brilliant over 90 minutes.

“Ox needs to adapt to the position still, that’s no problem. He has a lot of space for improvement. But it’s nice to see that he is really hard-working on it. That may be the biggest surprise for pretty much everybody, this genius talented kid that he was when he came from Southampton and what all the people said about him. We learn more about him every day.

“He is a really hard-working boy and wants to improve. It’s good that he knows he can do better – now we have to work together on it so he can do better.”

Ragnar Klavan, meanwhile, started a sixth consecutive match in central defence when the Swans visited Anfield and played his part in recording a fourth clean sheet during that run of games.

Extend that statistic back to include the Estonian’s preceding half-a-dozen appearances and the tally becomes seven shutouts in the past 12.

The 32-year-old is a quiet and unassuming member of Klopp’s squad but one the manager considers to be invaluable – and perhaps underrated – all the same.

“In this world, especially in England, with big signings and stuff like this, then you see how much we paid for Raggy…!” he said of the defender.

“And how many German clubs have asked me already, ‘Do you think about him [being available for transfer]?’, which we don’t, of course.

“He is a perfect role model for pretty much all signings. He loves being here. This season, when Joel and Dejan did quite well, he didn’t have 20 games in a row but has stepped up since then.

“He needs to be confident. He could be much more confident with his skills. That’s his only little problem, if you want – that he doesn’t know how good he actually is. But we are working on that as well.

“He is in good shape at the moment. It’s very, very important for us that he is. We had Joel and Dejan with one or two little [injuries] so it was very important that he could step in.”