Jürgen Klopp on Man City, FA Cup ambition, team selection and more

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Man City, FA Cup ambition, team selection and more

By Joe Urquhart and Glenn Price


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Jürgen Klopp discussed a wide range of topics during his pre-Manchester City press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The Liverpool boss previewed an Emirates FA Cup semi-final meeting with Pep Guardiola's City at Wembley by answering journalists' questions at the AXA Training Centre.

Read on for a summary of Klopp's comments...

On whether there is any advantage for Liverpool after City's physical game at Atletico Madrid...

I don't know, I didn't see the full game, I saw a few highlights, some of them obviously after the game. We had it last week before we faced City, we had an away game and arrived then the next day, we slept there and stayed there overnight, so travelling is intense, definitely. Will [it] give us an advantage? I have no idea. But we will see that. It was for both teams, both games were intense but I didn't see the complete game from last night from City yet. We do that this afternoon and then maybe I could tell you more, but in this moment I don't know.

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On whether Liverpool and City can surprise each other ahead of a third meeting of the season...

Not sure surprise, but I think a lot about these games, we have to. So, I think City was really strong last week, and we were not at our best, so I would like to see a game where we are at our best as well. It would be interesting. So, let's give it a try. Maybe that would be a surprise, all of a sudden we are good.

So, the boys did a lot of good stuff in the game, but I really think in a couple of positions we are really able to perform on a completely different level. So, I think we should give that a try. Then, it's a cup game, a one-off, [which] means if it's 2-2 again, it's 120 minutes and then if it stays there, 2-2, then it goes to a penalty shootout, it's crazy. That would be really crazy if we have to go all the way. But honestly, I really like that. I want to have 12 games from now until the end of the season, I want to be in the finals and all these kinds of things, it's not about that, it's just it's tough and makes it not easier. But it's still the best schedule to have because it means you are in all competitions, as long as some are possible.

I'm really looking forward to the game. Wembley is a big pitch, so we have to cover a lot of grass, to run a lot, to close big gaps and all these kinds of things, but I think it will be cool. Of course, both teams will use the last game for the analysis, of course, and we will see who uses it better.

On whether he notices any differences when facing City...

Over the years, yes, of course. I think we had some decent counter-attacks in the past, and I think Pep decided the full-backs were not allowed to pass the halfway line anymore, stuff like this. These kind of things are normal, we do similar stuff, you just add to that but it makes no sense to talk about it. So, we try really to deny them as well. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not, but it's not about that. We know about the quality of City, we don't have to mention it all the time, but everybody knows it anyway.

It's decisive challenges in a game and you better win them, otherwise they are in a really good position. We lost a couple of easy balls in the game now a few days ago and what they make of it is spectacular, the counter-attacks, like the first minute already, or after two minutes when Sterling had a big chance, Ali made a great save, there are other situations. It's just good football, but the goals we scored were really, really, really good football as well. We had other situations, which didn't end up in chances, so it's not surprising or something like that. It's a really intense fight on a really high level. The concentration levels the boys have to bring on the pitch is insane.

It's very similar to the Chelsea cup final. For 120 minutes, it's like unbelievable how intense it was in all aspects. That's why it is so interesting, and on top of that it was still a good game, because when tactical things match each other from time to time it's like, OK, tactically really interesting, but for the neutral, horribly boring. That happens rarely now in games between City and us. That's good for all the fans who watch it.

On whether he will treat this semi-final 'as a final'...

It has to be treated like a final, we have to. In an ideal world we have 12 games, that means the 10 around we treat like finals. That's how it is pretty much and that's how we approached it already since January since we started this little mission. You have to go all-in. Imagine now if we would play against City and would think, 'Yeah, maybe we can [go] a little bit less there, there a little bit less.' No. Anyway, against City you always have to see it as a final but now it is the semi-final, it means it's the only way to get to the final and we actually want to go there.

Inside Etihad: Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool

On what the FA Cup means to him...

Massive competition, massive competition. Obviously so far we didn't even go to the semis yet, so it's the first experience in the semi-finals at Wembley – but better late than never. Now we are there and it means everything to us, to be honest. I hope our people can get to London. I hope they can make it and that we have the atmosphere a semi-final between Liverpool and City deserves.

On whether his side have practised penalties...

We do that quite frequently – not only around any cup games. It could have been necessary last night as well, so the boys should still know which corner they want to choose.

On the reason for not starting Mohamed Salah against Benfica on Wednesday...

The reason for Mo not starting is easy. Yes, he played City but we have after that hopefully 12 games, so that's why – when we have the opportunity to change. So that's all. Even if Mo would have scored four goals in the last game, he wouldn't have started yesterday. That's how it is. Nothing to do with anything. There's no story to make of it. It's just the necessity. Mo played in January and February six times 120 minutes, so now we can just close our eyes and say, 'Who cares?' Even he is just a human being and that's why it was clear there will be games where he cannot start, there will be games where we take him off – he hates that, that's clear.

So people might think what I'm doing the whole day, so you have to think about these kind of things when these things are really necessary to do – that was clear the case. I think the game proved it 100 per cent. We spoke afterwards about conceding the goals and stuff like this. Yes, it was in moments not good defending, we were a bit flat-footed or hoping for being offside – that's not how you should do it. But in general, the intensity of the game showed me it was 100 per cent right to change seven times. And the next reason was we were 3-1 up, 6-2 up and then lost a little bit of focus as well, that happened as well. It's not cool but it happened to all of you here in this room as well in moments when you think you've done it, you realise you closed the door a bit too early. That's completely normal.

And that's why Mo didn't start. I just hope that the boys can play on their highest level as often as somehow possible, that's what we try to do with that. Believe me, it's a massive difference if you play three days after you played a game, again 90 minutes, you have to go with all you have. Or if you play a few minutes in this game and have today a nice session – which is intense as well but not even close to the intensity of a game – then all of a sudden... because the boys are really high-trained athletes, they don't need a lot of time for recovery. But no time for recovery, that doesn't work. That's why I made the decisions.



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