Jürgen Klopp press conference: Chelsea victory, Bradley display, Nunez and more

ReactionJürgen Klopp press conference: Chelsea victory, Bradley display, Nunez and more

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By James Carroll and Chris Shaw at Anfield

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Liverpool’s emphatic display as they defeated Chelsea 4-1 in the Premier League made Jürgen Klopp ‘super-happy’.

The Reds regained a five-point advantage at the top of the division on Wednesday night, scoring twice in each half at Anfield.

Diogo Jota got the ball rolling and Conor Bradley followed up with an excellent first goal for the club. After the break, Dominik Szoboszlai and Luis Diaz struck either side of a Christopher Nkunku consolation for the Blues.

Read on for Klopp’s full verdict on the game, Bradley’s transition into the team, Nunez – who hit the woodwork four times on the evening, including from a penalty kick – and more at his post-match press conference…

On what stood out for him on the night…

The performance, nothing else to say. Standouts… start, really good, super-important. So, the story of the game is the story of the game, but the story of the game could have been completely different if we don’t start like we start, I would say. That’s how it is. You always try – we don’t do it always but we try – to give a game a direction. This direction was clear and obvious in the beginning. We have chances, we miss them, we score goals, we should have scored more, we miss a penalty. Go in half-time and can show the boys when Chelsea came out, when Chelsea played through us, why and where and how we can do that even better. [There were] two or three situations where the press started with Diogo instead of Dom and then they pass around us and go through, and then you have to do a lot of work to sort that out. In that moment, we could do that.

The game felt in the first half more dominant than it actually was, like possession-wise. That’s an interesting insight, and then it was clear we have to do the right things again and again and again. And that’s what we did. Then we change and maybe take tonight the two best performers off – they performed already well – Joey [Gomez] and Conor, we take them off because they played now an awful lot of games and we have Robbo [Andy Robertson] and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] on and they need rhythm. It’s like you bring them, obviously the goal we didn’t concede because of that but that was the period when they all of a sudden now with Nkunku and stuff like that, they came through and we had to defend slightly deeper and a bit different. But then we controlled it again and that’s the most important thing. It’s not about that you get through this super-convincing and with no problems, the opponents are too good for that. That’s why I’m super-happy with the performance, just because we had problems, we overcame them and had a lot of good moments.

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On Bradley’s display and a ‘nice situation’ of having him and Alexander-Arnold to choose from against Arsenal on Sunday…

There’s no situation, it’s just how it is. We finally realised we had seven games in January with 11 days off in between, I don’t know how we fitted them in but obviously we had to start January 1. And we couldn’t have put the string of results together we had without the boys, without the kids. Without [Jarell] Quansah, no chance. We have both left-backs out, Trent out, midfielders out, all these things. [On Sunday] we played with James McConnell on six and he played extremely well. So, these boys used now the situation, and that’s exactly in an ideal world how it should be.

Now the next game is coming in four days and I have no idea who can play again because they looked quite knackered when I had a look in the dressing room! Little back here, Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] on the knee – knee on knee – stuff like this. Nothing major, at least nobody told me that yet. So it’s all fine. We need them all – and it’s not a phrase, it’s exactly how it is. And I’m happy for them they all could perform the way they performed. The next massive game is coming up already, at Arsenal, and let’s recover and go again.

On whether the attitude and relentlessness of this team is unusual or surprises him…

No. I would never take these kind of things for granted, to be honest. Nobody asked me after the [Manchester] United game if I loved the attitude of this team; we play a 0-0 at home and it’s like everybody sits here and [thinks], ‘What’s that? Football without goals, why do we watch that?’ The attitude [in] that game was absolutely exceptional. I heard tonight somebody saying to me this was the best counter-pressing game for a long, long time; I have to watch it back, I loved it but I have to watch it back to judge that. I loved the United game for the counter-pressing, to be honest.

Attitude is not our problem, attitude is something we can expect. Attitude is created by the culture. Attitude is created by the crowd. Attitude is created by pretty much everybody around the team. Attitude will not be the issue of this team. This team is full of joy, full of excitement and all these kinds of things – that’s really cool. The problem is, a lot of other teams in the league are exactly the same. Not exactly the same but have the same attitude, go for it, will not stop and these kinds of things. That’s why if you asked me now are you happy with that and if we finish seventh [it’s] no problem, big success, then we can say this is wonderful – but we have to as well, it’s not only about that we can, we have to as well. And that’s what we do.

I said it before, I love pretty much everything about the team. The best thing is that there’s a lot of talent there and we mix it up. There’s a lot of potential there and we mix it up with attitude and that makes quality. The more often we do that, the more often we have a chance to win a football game.

Conor Bradley: I just feel like I'm in a dream!

ReactionConor Bradley: I just feel like I'm in a dream!Conor Bradley reflected on a ‘dream’ of a night after netting his first Liverpool goal in the Reds’ win over Chelsea at Anfield.

On whether he knew just how good Bradley is...

Yeah, I know it for a while because in the left ear is Pep Lijnders and in the right ear is Vitor Matos. I remember Pep sat in my office and said, ‘I’d put both hands in fire for him!’ I loved him from the first day, I didn’t need a lot of convincing. The thing is, Conor showed up extremely good in pre-season, did extremely well at Bolton [on loan]. Comes back, looks top in pre-season, wow, and then is out for five months [or] four months, [with] like these kind of issues that only young people have, but thank God then time can sort it. At our age it would not get better but in that age group it gets better.

Since he is back, it is a joy to watch him. It is all credit to the Academy because, how I said, Conor, Jarell, James, Bobby [Clark] and the others we don’t have to mention... it’s top. Kaide Gordon coming back after a long, long injury, even longer. Stefan Bajcetic still out, these kind of things. It is not cool but we were counting with Stefan before the season because we know how good he is. Then he cannot play and that’s obviously not helpful. The Academy is doing an incredible job.

On Nunez’s performance...

An insane first half, unbelievable, I would say not to defend. Outstanding, really good. Why do we speak about Darwin? Obviously because he has so many situations where he missed but it was the first game since we count that a player hit the woodwork four times in a game. Now think you are in his boots, how that feels. Missing a penalty, you could see it at half-time, he was really upset with himself. Then missing the header from close range, but then setting up a goal. He stays in the game. There was never a striker who barely could walk and everybody asks, ‘What is he doing?’ and he became then the final picture of himself, but this is the way how it works.

It is just crazy that he creates that many. Imagine for a second he would take them all... the numbers would be absolutely insane to the extent where you wouldn’t understand it anymore, so it’s normal. For us it is important because we scored four goals, who cares if we could have scored a fifth or a sixth? It is really not important. We need to win football games – and he will score. He scored already. Then setting up in a really important moment the fourth goal, because 3-2 or 4-1 is a big difference, that makes him really the player he is for us. The rest will come, definitely.

Darwin Nunez forward
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