Q&AJürgen Klopp press conference: Bournemouth, defensive stability, youngsters and more

By Glenn Price and Chris Shaw


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Jürgen Klopp underscored the need for Liverpool to play a 'really good football game' when they travel to AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League.

The Reds head to the south coast on Sunday to face Andoni Iraola's resurgent side, who currently sit 12th in the standings and have lost just one of their last nine fixtures in all competitions.

Klopp previewed the encounter during a press conference at the AXA Training Centre on Friday – read on for a summary of what he had to say…

On facing Bournemouth...

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When you don't play them at the weekend, I really have time to admire what he [Iraola] is doing there. So it was obviously a really difficult start for him at Bournemouth with the manager change and all these kind of things. I didn't know a lot about him, about the colleague, and then at the start of the season obviously the results were... if you don't have a proper look at Bournemouth, it can happen, but they turned it around, wow. That's real coaching, I have to say, and he found a way to set this team up.

They have a really good mix, play football, find direction in the right moments, they use Dom Solanke in a sensational way, the support he gets from the centre, from the wings. The way they defend, really good, really compact. So, that's proper. It will be a difficult game, definitely. But I don't think they are now preparing the game against us and think, 'Thank God Liverpool is coming.' Because we feel good as well and I want us to show that as well. We are ready for tough games, it's Premier League – I can't remember the last matchday when it was not tough, probably because it never happened, so no problem with that. But they have my respect.

On former Liverpool striker Solanke...

I am so happy for Dom. Because when we signed him, we were all so excited about the talent he is. He has so much potential, had so much potential when he came here. But then it's Liverpool and we had other good strikers as well. He had played games and everything. [He] was probably not at that time the most clinical yet but the talent was obvious. How it is sometimes, he made the absolute right decision to go to Bournemouth, went there through all different stages and last year already scored enough goals, and now obviously he's up there with the greatest. I'm so happy for him because he's a wonderful kid and a real talent and a really good player. He went the hard way, trying here, realising, 'Maybe a bit too early.' And then going to Bournemouth and doing it all the way is really cool.

On conceding the first goal in away games...

I actually don't like to talk too much about negative things when it's not necessary, so it's like let's turn it around, it started in our mind with being 1-0 down and then we don't have to concede it really – I don't know how that works. No, I wish we wouldn't, to be honest, but it happened, it was all for different reasons and different situations. In the end, we play 95, 98 minutes, sometimes 100, and the result we have then is the most important.

And reacting on the things that happen in the game because it must not always lead to a goal but it can be a good spell of the opponent, a better start of the opponent, they are more aggressive, they are more this, they are more that and then you have still to turn it around, so you cannot see on the scoresheet but it's still something you have to do. So the difference is not that big actually. But playing convincingly [for] 90-odd minutes away from home is definitely something we want to do, no doubt about that. And now we go to a place where it will be pretty difficult because they just have their own idea and are in a really good moment. That's why we better play a really good football game.

On how impressed he has been with Ibrahima Konate's recent form…

Not too impressed, to be honest, it's just what I expect from him because that's what he is able to do. I thought our last line in particular did really well in all positions. Jarell Quansah did exceptionally well. Virgil [van Dijk] plays a great season. Joe Gomez. In this moment of time, we are top of the table so can you get there if the boys are not performing on a pretty high level? But for us it's essential. All the numbers you have over a season, most of them you can kind of ignore, forget – the number of goals conceded, you never can ignore. Of course that's not Ibou Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Jarell Quansah, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip or whatever, that's the whole team. This is the thing we have to keep in our mind: that everything starts with a top defence and a top defensive idea and a common defensive idea. If that's good or really good or super-good then you can start playing football and think about that. But without stability, we shouldn't even try.

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On the benefits of the winter break…

Yeah, top, it was top. Today is the third session already since we are back, you could see it was really important to everybody, for everybody. From my personal point of view, I had four days. Perfect, absolutely. Nobody wanted to have three or four weeks, we are in the middle of a season [and] we love what happened so far, we are looking forward to what's coming up, but these four days were just top-class. Now we are the third day in training again and you can see the boys, as much as they like going on holiday, the thing they like most is actually playing football and that's really cool to see. The weather was good; it was freezing cold obviously but it was really nice going outside [with a] blue sky even when it's freezing, it was exactly like it should be. We had a break and now we can go for the rest of the season.

On the integration of young players into the team and his pride in Quansah…

Clean sheets, they are good absolutely, but it's the performance. Jarell played an absolutely outstanding pre-season. Jarell is one of these players where people knew he is a real talent but his real face he only showed in the moment when he got close to the first team, and since then he played only good games. In pre-season each game was good, when he came on against Newcastle he was outstanding in a really difficult game. From that moment it's all fine. It's just really good.

I can only integrate into the first team what the Academy produces. With the amount of Academy players at the Arsenal game, I think it was 10 altogether. Yeah, that's actually a really nice thing. The Academy produce the players but it's all about the players because even the Academy cannot perform miracles and make wonderful art out of a piece of wood, there must be some talent. I love that. These boys, they [don't have to be] Scousers but when it's on top of that a Scouser it's even more fun, but obviously we have players from different areas here in the region. So that [being a Scouser] will not be the ticket into the first team, but it's cool. I think what helps most is kind of the rise of Trent [Alexander-Arnold], Curtis [Jones], now Jarell. That's what drives young players, to see it's possible in a top team in the Premier League, or maybe in the world, to get into. It's good. We are really happy about that but obviously we needed it as well, that's clear.

Jarell Quansah defender
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