Q&AJürgen Klopp press conference: Nottingham Forest clash, youngsters and finding solutions

By James Carroll, Glenn Price and Joe Urquhart


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Jürgen Klopp is expecting a 'tough, tough challenge' when Liverpool head to Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds return to Premier League action with a showdown against Nuno Espirito Santo's side at the City Ground.

Klopp previewed the fixture by holding a press conference at the AXA Training Centre on Friday afternoon – read a summary of what he had to say…

On what he expects from Forest...

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Press conferenceLFC injury news: Updates on Endo, Nunez, Robertson, Salah, Szoboszlai and moreDarwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai may be available for Liverpool’s trip to Nottingham Forest, but Mohamed Salah will not return from injury at the City Ground.

I would say Nottingham is a great place to play, but a difficult one as well. It was and will be tomorrow. The situation Nottingham are in, they have a similar situation to us: they need to win football games to reach their target. As much as we can't and as much as they can't, [we cannot] waste games or time. So, that's the opponent we expect. They made a few changes for the last game, [Callum] Hudson-Odoi didn't start, not sure if he was resting, but he came on so probably not. We probably roughly know who we will expect, who we have to expect and, besides that, in the moment for us [in] preparation, yes, we look at the opponent and do the analysis, that's clear, but it is a real task for us to find out how we can line up with all the games played and stuff like this. It's always about us before football games because we demand different things in the game, but in this time a little bit more than in others. When we find that then we can talk about all the rest.

It will be a tough, tough challenge, that is 100 per cent clear. You could see Newcastle, Aston Villa and even Arsenal, it was not easy for any of them. That's clear, not only with but especially with the counter-attacking threat they are, it's massive with [Taiwo] Awoniyi, [Anthony] Elanga, [Morgan] Gibbs-White and Hudson-Odoi or Divock [Origi] or stuff like this. That speed, they can be direct, they set it up a little bit like that. Protection is massive for us, that if we try to control the game we have to make sure we really control that part of the game as well. That's how football is and I am looking forward to it. We want to play the game, happy, do it there, great atmosphere definitely, so let's give it a go.

On the pride he feels in the way the youngsters have stepped up recently...

After the game I felt that, definitely, the joy, the pride, it's really different. It's wonderful to see how the boys deal with the situation because that's a full squad achievement. It is, indeed, because I think we all agree if we put all the young boys on the pitch together then they are still wonderful players and they have no chance. So, you need to be led, you need to be guided on the pitch, you need this experience around you – and they all know that. I congratulated the senior players after the game, how they deal with the situation. Because the first half was a first half where you can get frustrated – they were running through, we lost balls here and there, that all can happen, it's completely normal in football. But it's all about your own mindset and nobody was in that mood at all. They really enjoyed having them around and knowing about the difficulties and knowing about the opportunities, the possibilities what they give us and all these kind of things. That was wonderful.

But we are not here in general to think too much about these kind of things. Yesterday was a wonderful day. Usually if we win a trophy, we do a staff picture – I don't know why we didn't do that in the past – but yesterday we did it 100 per cent with the full Academy staff as well, so there was a lot of people in here and we had this picture. It was wonderful because I really wanted everybody to feel it and to understand it properly about the role they played in that whole story, and that was really cool. But two days later we play Nottingham Forest and now it's tomorrow already, so we have to find solutions. I said, it's a tricky time, a challenging time but somehow we could keep it very positive and that's what we have to do. But then the games are the most difficult moments, obviously, in that [and] there we have to be ready.

If you would ask me and I wanted to answer, 'What's the definite line-up for tomorrow?' I couldn't give you that answer now – it's 12.30 on [matchday] minus one – because we just have to stay flexible in these things and then we have to trust in the process and the things we do, and that worked out. Not over 90 minutes but when it didn't work out we had either a defensive leg somewhere for a block or Caoimh [Kelleher] with a sensational save, and that's how football is. When you are not in your best moment you have to keep games open until you can win them. These moments come up in a game if you stay clear but it's not always easy to keep that mindset and that's what the boys did, all of them, and that's the part I am really proud of. But that's already [the] past because we have to prove that point tomorrow again.

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On embracing the challenges of competing in multiple competitions...

Yeah, yeah, but it was always like that. Until we get asked about four possible trophies, we don't think for a second about it, to be 100 per cent honest. These kind of things, you don't think about it for one second, it's not important, absolutely not. You try to find a solution for the next game, we try to win the game. Take it game by game, that's probably really a phrase journalists don't like too much, but we cannot do it differently. We just have to make sure we get through all these different situations with as many points as somehow possible – that's what we do, that's what we will do. Let's see how it works out tomorrow.

On how pleased he has been with his team since defeat at Arsenal...

The results are incredibly important [but] I wouldn't call it now a response to the Arsenal game because we didn't use it in that way. I didn't say, 'Look at that. Now we have to show a reaction.' We always have to show a reaction but, first and foremost, you always have to show a reaction to yourself. If it was a one-off, Arsenal was really good, we were not as good as we could've been probably that night, and that can happen. In a season where if you can only reach your targets if you win all your games, I would say that's really difficult, not even [Manchester] City did that, even when they came close. You have to use the lesser-good things as much as you have to use the good things.

Against Arsenal, unfortunately there were a few more lesser-good things in that game and that's why we lost the game against a really strong opponent. But we never use it that I said, 'Come on boys, we have to show that we are not as bad as we were that night' or something like that. Not at all. Yes, for the results we cannot now speak about it. It was the Sunday, I'm not sure after which game, Brentford maybe, when we were aware that the situation [with injuries] became now more and more tricky and it was in my mind not, 'Let's win Luton, Chelsea and Southampton.' It was in my mind, 'Let's find a solution for Luton.'

So, that's what we did and then you go through that game. It was not [that] the whole game was pretty, but we found a way into the game and won it quite impressively, and then do it the same with the final, do the same with Southampton, do the same with Nottingham Forest. It's good to have some of them back now, but how long we can use them in this game now, I don't know. So, [the] next challenge [is] to figure out all these kind of things. Yes, but of course, it's only one point above City and two points above Arsenal but that means nothing. Sixty points is a statement for that moment in the season but stay on 60 and I am not sure you qualify for the Champions League, to be honest, so we better keep winning football games.



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