Jürgen Klopp on Diogo Jota impact, prolific Reds and Saints victory

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Diogo Jota impact, prolific Reds and Saints victory

Published 27th November 2021

Jürgen Klopp detailed the reasons for Liverpool’s prolific form after his side racked up a 4-0 victory over Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Reds made it three consecutive wins at Anfield in a week as Diogo Jota’s first-half double was added to by Thiago Alcantara and Virgil van Dijk.

In scoring four more goals, Klopp’s men became the first English top-flight team since 1927 to net two or more in 17 games in a row in all competitions.

The manager discussed the purple patch in front of goal, Jota’s impact and more during his post-match press conference. Read a full transcript below…

On Jota’s performance and the importance of his contributions to the team…

A good subject to talk about. Diogo: exceptional player, exceptional boy. It was for us two years ago, one-and-a-half years ago, a perfect signing because he has everything that a Liverpool player in this squad needs. He has the technical skills, he has the physical skills and he is very smart and can learn all the tactical stuff pretty quick. On top of that, he can play all three positions; in a 4-2-3-1 he could play as the 10. So, it is very helpful. He has the speed, has the desire to finish situations off really good. I think his goalscoring record is pretty impressive, if I’m right. Unfortunately, he had a big injury last year and that is then never helpful. But he is back, thank God, and fits really well in this team. I’m really happy for him. Actually, today I thought he could have made a slightly better decision before he then scored, maybe he was smart enough to wait for the next ball that he could finish it off easier. But I thought we should have scored with the situation before already. But all good and Diogo is a good player.

Jordan Henderson: We're pleased but need to keep this momentum going
27th November 2021

ReactionJordan Henderson: We're pleased but need to keep this momentum goingJordan Henderson took satisfaction at another strong Liverpool display in the 4-0 victory over Southampton at Anfield on Saturday.

On Jota’s character to come to Liverpool…

Yeah but it’s the right decision. When you hypothetically talk to a player and he says, ‘Where will I play?’ – you decide about that with your performance, by the way, it’s not written in stone that we always start with the same line-up, all other players are really good in our squad as well. That should not be a surprise. But in the end it’s about making 35 really good games instead of getting somehow through a season and playing 50 games. It’s completely normal that you have to get rested and all these kinds of things. For these moments you need more than 11 players in the squad – we all know that – and you need more than three strikers, even when you play with three strikers. That’s what we have, thank God. He was smart enough to see that and that’s why he made the move and that’s why he can contribute so well.

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On whether the club knows if Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah can play against Chelsea on January 2 before they go to the Africa Cup of Nations…

Not really, it’s early for that, we’re still talking. Yes [we are hoping].

On the reasons behind the team’s prolific scoring numbers this season…

I think it’s not so easy to talk about football games when you lose them like we did last year too often in a specific period of the season, but I knew what we were lacking. We were lacking stability. And we didn’t have stability not because we had no centre-halves for a while and we had to find solutions for that, the problem was that we were like in the early stages shocked that we cannot play the football anymore we wanted to play because we didn’t have the stability, which we have now obviously. Everybody knows exactly what he has to do. When you put the midfielders back in the last line then you put midfielders in the line who usually don’t play there or are protected by either Hendo or Fab, and now they play double-six. That’s the problem and all of a sudden you lose your rhythm. That’s what happened to us last year. We had to find a solution and thank God we found the solution early enough to qualify for the Champions League.

And this year we had a pre-season that was a proper pre-season, which was incredibly helpful. Especially up front with Sadio and Mo, they had the longest pre-season I’m pretty sure they had for ages and that was helpful. So we could really work on a lot of things and found the stability back. Talking about stability, I was not happy with the chances we conceded today, to be honest. I have no problem that Ali has to make saves in a football game but these saves were too spectacular. One-on-one with the goalie should not happen twice in a game, for sure not. We have to really work on that. We have to be as stable, serious, ruthless defensively as somehow possible. That gives us then the platform to play football and then we can create and then we can score. It will not be forever like this that we score two goals per game but it happened so far. So, good. But if we win a game 1-0 then I’m happy as well.

On how much credit the players deserve for the form they’re in…

Yeah, it is about that. My job is to set a team up, my job is to make a line-up, to organise training sessions, to help them create an atmosphere in the team, then on the pitch it’s helpful if they follow the tips or advice we give them, but they have to do it themselves, that’s how it is. The things that happened to this team in the last few years were special and that’s mostly because of the outstanding mindset and mentality of the boys. They push each other, which is absolutely helpful. I am not surprised and I don’t think we now deserve too much credit for trying to play the best football possible every three days because I think that should be possible three times a week, but I don’t take it for granted as well. We have nothing else to do during this 95 minutes, so let’s play as good as is somehow possible. That’s the way we see it and sometimes it works out and sometimes not; it’s only three games ago we lost at West Ham. We didn’t only lose at West Ham, we drew two games before as well if I am right. So, all of a sudden, we were in a bad moment. Now we look like we are in a better moment, [but] the season is too long to think about these kind of things. We are able to play good football so we have to force ourselves to do it always.

On whether he looks back on the last campaign as a ‘lost season’ due to Liverpool’s injury issues…

No, I learned a lot. I learned a lot. I made mistakes, so it’s easy for me to look back and think, ‘That was wrong, that was wrong…’ but in the moment when we made decisions, when we put the midfielders back and then played without protection in midfield, last line deeper, not really compact in a lot of moments, maybe we should have just played Rhys [Williams] and Nat [Phillips] completely together earlier and trusted the boys more. In that moment I thought they were not ready, later on they were ready and they could both play, no problem, no doubt about that. That would have given us a bit more stability in other areas. [When you] lose a centre-half it’s like breaking a leg, but if you put the midfielders then in the last line and open up other gaps then you break your spine and all of a sudden you cannot walk anymore. That’s exactly like it was last year. It was not a lost season, I learned more than in other seasons, but it was a difficult season and finishing that season in third position is an absolutely exceptional achievement, to be honest. I said it a couple of times, it was outstanding. But we don’t think about that too much anymore, we are in this season and it is difficult enough. We won the game in a very good manner and nothing else happened really.

Published 27th November 2021