Jürgen Klopp on Konate progress, Origi availability and Wembley aim

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Konate progress, Origi availability and Wembley aim

Published 51 seconds ago
By Chris Shaw

Jürgen Klopp discussed Ibrahima Konate's early months at Liverpool, the availability of Divock Origi, and his team's Wembley ambitions on Wednesday.

The Reds manager was speaking to the media ahead of Thursday night’s first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

Read a summary of the second part of his pre-match preview below…

On Konate being ‘eased in’ to the team so far, what he has been asked to do and if he can kick on now…

First and foremost, what players always should be: they should be themselves in the first moment. That’s why we signed them. But one thing is the analysis you do before you sign a player; the other thing is what you see when you have him really around and on the training ground. He played games pretty early for us and I think we all agree he is an exceptional talent: physically outstanding, good footballer as well. When you are that skilled, that quick, that strong, it’s pretty normal – especially when you are young – that your concentration level drops from time to time. Tactically, we played obviously very different to Leipzig, they played quite frequently there with three in the back, which is different as well. He had to adapt and has to adapt still to his teammates left and right of him, all these kind of things.

On top of that, we have with Virgil, Joe and Joel three more, from my point of view, world-class centre-halves. So, that’s the situation. We just couldn’t go in the season again with three centre-halves, especially with three coming back from long-term injuries. We needed to do that and now it’s about just using the moments you get, using the minutes you get, using the games you get and bring yourself in the best possible shape and deliver when you are on the pitch. That’s what he is doing, so all fine.

On whether the club approached the EFL about making the semi-final one leg…

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No, no. First and foremost, I hope that in one point in our lives COVID will be over and we will not have this uncertainty constantly around us. But it shows us a little bit that COVID is around and with the amount of fixtures we have it’s really tricky to fit them all in. The second semi-final is actually only good for one thing, it’s for the EFL probably, from a financial point of view. But I think we should or could find their solution in the future. Not for this year; we didn’t ask for [it], no. Just in general. I think all top-class people in football, especially coaches, agree we have to reduce the amount of games in the long term definitely. That’s how it is. But a lot of people around try to do it the other way and that will not lead in the right direction, definitely. That will not be the right outcome. So, at one point we have to talk about these kind of things but it’s not for that game. We have two semi-finals and we are happy and hopeful we can play both, so that’s what we want to do.

On Origi’s importance to the squad and whether he will remain at the club this month…

Div is not available. Div didn’t train, Div is still injured and still in recovery. So he cannot help us in this moment but I don’t see any kind of scenario – pretty much everything can happen in life – but from this moment I would say he will be here. And hopefully fit soon because we actually could use him quite well now.

On the motivation of reaching a Wembley final for the first time since 2016…

Yeah, we are desperate – we want to go through, definitely. We actually always wanted [to], there’s a complete misunderstanding. We were another time in the semi-final, we lost the semi-final. But we are here to win trophies. That’s a trophy and we are actually quite determined to get through this. But there’s a big hurdle in between this now and then. Arsenal are in a really good shape so it will not be easy but we will give it a proper try.

On how winning this competition would add to his and the team’s legacy…

Other people have to decide that. I think what the boys did so far since we worked here together is absolutely exceptional. We were close a couple of times; we were closer than close at least one time; and we made it happen a couple of times as well. We are far away from giving up just now and saying as long as [Manchester] City and Pep [Guardiola] work together with these players, we will not try it. No, of course we will try – with all we have. But there are other competitions. If you go through against Arsenal now, the final will be against Tottenham or Chelsea, that’s not a home run, a no-brainer or whatever. That’s a proper game as well. So we don’t have to think about these kind of things. If anybody thinks we don’t want to win cups, I cannot help, sorry. We try, honestly, all the time, constantly, every day. Let’s see what we can get. This year, hopefully something.

In the last round | Reds beat Leicester on penalties

On his experience of having COVID-19…

Actually I had moments when I was really over the moon about having the booster because I had symptoms. Not symptoms I would struggle with but I had symptoms and I was happy I didn’t have to experience it without a vaccination, that’s the truth. I thought that quite frequently during these 10 days. That’s it, pretty much, no further messages [to say to people]. Nobody wants to have it. If you have it you should be as properly protected as somehow possible. Thank God, me and my family were like this, were protected like this, so we came through it. Really thankful for that to all the people who gave us the opportunity to get vaccinated in a really difficult moment.

Published 51 seconds ago