Jürgen Klopp on Arsenal challenge, Kaide Gordon development and more

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Arsenal challenge, Kaide Gordon development and more

Published 12th January 2022
By James Carroll

Jürgen Klopp assessed the challenge Liverpool face in attempting to overcome Arsenal to reach the final of the Carabao Cup, as well as a variety of other talking points, during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

The Reds welcome the Gunners to Anfield for the first leg of the last-four meeting on Thursday night, with the return set for Emirates Stadium seven days later.

The last meeting between the sides came on November 20 in the Premier League on Merseyside when goals from Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and Takumi Minamino swept Klopp’s side to a comprehensive 4-0 victory.

However, the manager is in no doubt Mikel Arteta’s side will pose a stern test to Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the Wembley final.

Klopp also discussed a range of other subjects during his media briefing, including Kaide Gordon’s development and the recent false positive COVID-19 tests. Read on to see what he had to say…

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Jürgen Klopp's pre-Arsenal press conference

On whether Kaide Gordon could be an option with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane at AFCON…

Kaide was - and is always - in our mind because he’s just an exceptional talent. He played an exceptional pre-season but then had a little drop in form, which is completely normal in this age. He played then with the U23s mostly, had good games there, lesser good games and all these kind of things, but he is an outstanding talent. He is here [and] as long as he’s fit he is always in my mind and then we will see where that exactly leads to. The game [against Shrewsbury] obviously helped him a lot because he felt proper adult football. He is capable of dealing with that and that is a really important thing, getting these kinds of experiences, so we will see.

On the benefits of young players getting experience in cup competitions…

In this game obviously, the specific game against Shrewsbury, we had no other options really because Bobby was not able to start, Taki was not able to start and I think Kostas was the only other senior player on the bench, maybe. So, that was the team we had to line up and that’s all fine, that’s why we have the boys, that’s why we trained them, that’s why we try to educate them, that’s why we try to get them all the information we have about football. Not too much now, but step by step. That’s how football education works and then you need, of course, from time to time these proper tests that you really see, ‘OK, I am a step closer to where I want to be in the future' and all these things. It was really, really good. We won the Shrewsbury game with five Academy graduates, which is a really big one for us as well - plus Caoimhin in goal, so six, which is really nice. It felt really, really good after the game because so many nice little individual stories were out there on the pitch. It was good for the boys and very important for us.

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On now playing the first leg of the semi-final at Anfield…

Yeah, of course it makes a difference. It makes a difference, but if you win both games it makes no difference obviously. But especially with the power Anfield can produce, yes, it’s a difference. We cannot change that. We couldn’t play last Thursday, that’s how it is and that’s why we have to take it like it is and no problem with that. But, yes, it’s a difference.

On whether the recent Premier League meeting with Arsenal can help preparations…

Yeah, it’s influential; we use these pictures, we use other pictures for preparing for the Arsenal game. Arsenal were in a good moment then and are now in a maybe even better moment result-wise. They play really exciting football, Mikel is doing an exceptional job there, having a lot of young boys in, this front three plus Lacazette which they usually play, is really exciting to watch, good set-up, clear idea. I think they improved a lot between then and now, even when they were already good then. We just played a really good game against them and that’s the team we will face, so that’s a tricky draw.

On the recent false positive COVID-19 tests among the Liverpool squad…

What do you think I mean when I talk about false positives? It’s not an opinion, that’s facts: a false positive is a positive test you get. You get a test result back and then you get a positive test back. When you are able to do a re-test, then a day or one-and-a-half days later you get a result which looks like it’s a false positive because this test was negative. It doesn’t change anything for your quarantine, but to prove that wrong or right - you want to know and you need to know - you need to do a third test. The third test now shows up and between the first and second and second and third test you cannot use the players, that’s how the rules are, or how in general the rules are for all of us. Then you get a third test and it is negative as well then that’s it, but it was now four days later, we couldn’t do anything different. In the first moment when we got the positive tests, we had to consider that that is the right result, as you can imagine. [They were] PCR tests, by the way.

Published 12th January 2022