Every word from Klopp on Minamino's 'complete performance'

Press conferenceEvery word from Klopp on Minamino's 'complete performance'

Published 2nd March 2022
By Chris Shaw at Anfield

Jürgen Klopp hailed a ‘complete performance’ from Takumi Minamino as his two goals against Norwich City put Liverpool into the Emirates FA Cup last eight.

Liverpool 2-1 Norwich: Extended highlights

The No.18 netted twice in the first half at Anfield on Wednesday to give the Reds a 2-1 win and ensure their spot in the quarter-final draw.

Klopp’s post-match press conference was dominated by discussion of Minamino’s display on the night and his current level of form.

Read a transcript of the manager’s chat with the media below…

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On how tough a night it was to ‘just get through’…

Tough – because it’s a game against a Premier League side. We had to make 10 changes because of the 120 plus 40 minutes penalty shootout on Sunday. That was an exhausting night, mentally and physically, so we had to make changes to have a chance tonight. We needed a couple of minutes to get into the game, Norwich had kind of a kickstart again like they had in the Premier League game. But from a specific moment on we controlled the game and played like we had to play – easy and simple passes to drag them out a little bit, to then find the gaps, to find the half-spaces.

From there, we caused them real problems. We had good moments and scored two wonderful goals. Second half, pretty similar, we should have scored earlier, closing the game, but that didn’t happen. And all of a sudden they scored their goal and then you have to fight to bring it over the line, that’s what we did and that’s absolutely fine. It was a tough game, we expected that, that’s why we brought in 10 fresh players. It was good.

On Minamino taking his opportunity…

His impression was obvious with scoring two goals and not only that – he had a lot more top, top football moments. He was a constant threat tonight, he was mobile, he was quick. He was technically on an incredibly high level; it was really windy tonight and when you then saw how he controlled the balls when he had to bring down the high balls, that was all really, really, really good. I’m not surprised, I know how good he is and tonight he showed it to the public again, which is absolutely great.

On whether it was Minamino’s best game for the Reds so far…

Maybe. It was an exceptional game, for sure. He looked extremely sharp, he showed all the things he knows for sure he has in him and now he showed it tonight to the public. It was really a complete performance. The two goals were great but all the rest he did was top-class as well. It was really good.

On the desire Minamino is showing…

Absolutely. He shows everything, he has everything. That’s how it is, that’s why he is our player. Taki came in, in a difficult time, coronavirus was there full throttle, no supporters in the stadium, in a good football team obviously which was used to a lot of things. Had good moments, played really good football but now he needed time and in the moment he looks absolutely on the peak of things he can do. I’m very, very happy for him that he can show that. Obviously there are more difficult situations than Taki’s out there in the world but it’s obviously not so easy to be in and out and sometimes these kind of things. But his character is obviously top-class, which means when he is needed or when I give him the opportunity, he is delivering on a top-class level. I’m really happy.

On whether there were any moments when Minamino might have left the club…

No, we didn’t think about it. I don’t think he thought about it. So, no.

On the importance of players stepping up and it being the theme of the season…

That’s the reason. That’s the reason we are in the situation we are in, that we have this kind of mentality and character in the squad. A good example is Curtis Jones, who played an exceptional game tonight; Joe Gomez, we don’t have to discuss his quality and he showed it again tonight. That’s exactly what we need to be successful in the long term. Nobody knows what will happen this year, but in the long term we need this kind of quality. The boys have to be ready. They don’t fight each other for a position but they have to fight to be their best version and then they have a good chance to be in the line-up for the weekend. But no guarantee. That means you have to do it again and again and again until you get that opportunity and then you have to show up. That’s what the boys did.

On how disappointed Minamino was to not feature in the Carabao Cup final and how much that was motivation for him tonight…

It was for sure very disappointing, I can imagine. I didn’t speak to him about it; these are the hard decisions I have to make, which line-up I decide. Actually, my decision is a very positive one because I decide for the player, but it means for other players that they are not involved and that’s obviously then not so cool. But how Taki is, I don’t think that was the reason why he played so good tonight. He isn’t a person for this kind of anger or whatever. But it’s just the situation he is in. Obviously the decision for the line-up on Sunday was kind of the right one because we won the game in the end. My decisions get tested by the results we can get and the players have just to keep working.

For me, to be a player of Liverpool FC is actually the best place you can be. But it means you have to deal with situations you would not have to deal with maybe somewhere else, because there you play all the time but then you have no chance to play a final maybe, or more finals maybe, maybe it’s not so easy or you have no chance to win silverware. That’s the decision the players have to make. But the door is always open because you will get your chances and then you have to deliver and then you are part of it. Taki was a massive part of the whole journey in the Carabao Cup. That he didn’t play in the final might have been hard for him in the moment but in the long term when he looks back, he just won the Carabao Cup with Liverpool and that’s a really good thing.

Published 2nd March 2022