Jürgen Klopp on formation options, Arsenal, pressing and more

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on formation options, Arsenal, pressing and more

By Chris Shaw


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Jürgen Klopp discussed a range of topics as he previewed Liverpool's Premier League trip to Arsenal this weekend during a press conference on Friday.

The Reds follow up their midweek Champions League win over Rangers with an encounter at Emirates Stadium this Sunday afternoon.

In addition to providing the latest injury news, at his media briefing the manager spoke about the formation options available to him, the Gunners’ form, Darwin Nunez and more.

Read on for a summary…

On Nunez’s performance against Rangers and the chances he had in the game…

It was down to his movement and down to the movement of the boys around. One of the things he showed so far in all the games he played [is] that he brings himself quite frequently in good finishing positions, which is actually the most important thing for a striker. That’s why everybody should be, or could be, very optimistic about what’s coming from him in the future. That was absolutely good.

On the change in formation on Tuesday and whether it is ‘the plan for the future’…

For us, it’s much more important that we become unpredictable again. We need different systems for that as well. This is not the only system we can play. It was now a 4-4-2. Always when you name systems, it’s ‘Is it 4-3-3 or is it 4-5-1? Is it 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1?’ We don’t want to make it more complicated than it is but there are obviously different systems for us available and we have to choose from now on which one is the best for the next opponent, or the best for us in the moment. We have to be more unpredictable, definitely.

On Arsenal being a ‘different proposition’ this season…

All my respect, wow. Really, really good job. When you need some time nobody wants to give you time and maybe not all of us deserve time, because you still have to be good to use the time – and that’s what Mikel obviously did. I have to say, really lots of respect for it. They had a lot of talent already in the last few years. Martinelli, I was very early excited about him and he became exactly the player I expected he will be. Martin Odegaard, I spoke to him when he was 15 from Norway when the whole world wanted him and he decided for Real Madrid. I remember as it would have been yesterday that we sat on a table with his dad and we were all so excited. Then came a few difficult years, which is normal when you are that much in the spotlight. So, he became the player everybody expected him to be that time.

Saka, from the first day since he’s playing it’s incredible. And Gabriel Jesus, if anybody knew how good he could be not in a Man City shirt, in the fixed No.9 role, No.1 in the line-up, if you want, then it was Mikel because he worked together with him. Same with Zinchenko, saw great things. Brought Xhaka back on track. Thomas Partey, everybody knew how good he is when he was at Atletico. The last line is now really well settled, they found a way how they want to defend. Last night obviously they played a different line-up but still lots of quality. It’s a young team, a very exciting team, doing really well and [that] they are in the position they are [is] well deserved. Now we go there. Obviously we don’t think about the games we played against them [last season] because it makes not too much sense. We will try to cause them problems, I think that makes sense. So, I’m looking forward to it.

Watch Klopp's pre-Arsenal press conference in full

On Roberto Firmino’s form…

The goals he scored against Brighton were absolutely outstanding but for the game [against Rangers] we thought it didn’t make sense to play like this – and we play a lot of games and these kinds of things. Bobby is an incredibly important player to me and to us especially. I’m happy with his goalscoring record so far and hopefully he can put a few more.

On whether opponents have ‘finally worked out’ how best to play against Liverpool…

Teams worked out how you can play against us when we are not at our best. Other teams have worked out how to play against us since years, but it still didn’t work out for them because we were exceptional in the moment in the things we did. In the moment when you are not exceptional then it looks like, ‘Ah, now they realise.’ No. In our best games I could show you the parts where we could have got problems: here, here, here, here. We didn’t because we put so much pressure on the opposition that they couldn’t find these spaces. That’s the risk you take. In moment when you don’t play on your top [level] these gaps are still there, then they play the pass through and now we look like, ‘Now they know how to play against them.’ No, it was always clear. Whatever system we play, we play.

There’s no system in the world with no weakness; play with five in the back, three in the back, four in the back, no-one in the back, there’s no system. It’s all about how we perform. I understand 100 per cent, ‘It’s 4-3-3 and they know exactly.’ It’s not about that, it’s really not about that. It’s about what we did and with which intensity we did it and these kinds of things. That changed everything because defending in a 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1, just if you look at it you know where the gaps are but you fill them with your movements and then the gaps are not really existing or are only open for a wing and you close it again. That’s the way you have to play. There’s no system we can now rely on and say, ‘OK, from now on this is perfect.’ Because we know how to play against other teams, that’s how it is. You see how they play usually. That’s the problem with us – most of the time teams changed system. Arsenal will not do that now, they believe in what they are doing 100 per cent, rightly so. So we know how to prepare for Arsenal but in the end it’s how we execute it.

Jordan Henderson applauds at Anfield

ReactionJordan Henderson: Rangers win is a step in the right directionJordan Henderson considered Liverpool's 2-0 Champions League victory over Rangers a step in the right direction.

On whether there has been a physical or confidence issue with putting pressure on opponents…

For the way we defend you need to be brave. We come now back again to how our full-backs defend usually – we jump with our full-backs to the full-back of other teams. It was great and when we win the ball then put them under pressure, all great. If you are not in the right moment they just pass the ball past our full-back, who is then obviously not in his position in the back line. You all in the outside world tell us then, ‘You cannot defend like this.’ Oh yes, you can – we did it like in 200 games. But when the timing is not right, you can’t, that’s true. That’s always the case. If you are late in a challenge there’s no challenge actually. That’s in all situations the same. That’s obvious football, how you do that.

Sometimes you have to do a step aside or a step back or whatever to get that timing again. In our case, we don’t talk about, we wanted it last year with 100 per cent and this year was only 80 per cent. It might be that the boys want it 100 per cent but maybe put in only 97, but not consciously, just in these decisive moments. Yes, because things didn’t work out right; some players had to play too early, some players were new, some players were young and all these kinds of things. And all of a sudden a well-drilled team didn’t work together anymore, but not willingly. Just because one was a bit, ‘Oh, can I really push up?’ And the other one was already there. Pressing doesn’t work like this. You commit to pressing and you do it. You don’t press or you only defensive press around your own box, fine. But you have to commit to a common plan and that only works if everybody feels the same and that might have been a little bit the problem, we were not all in the same place in that moment or all in the same confidence levels for doing these kinds of things because we all had different solutions for the same problem.



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