Jürgen Klopp previews Brentford: 'We will not change the approach'

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp previews Brentford: 'We will not change the approach'

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By Joe Urquhart and James Carroll

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Jürgen Klopp met with the media on Friday afternoon to discuss a range of topics in his pre-Brentford press conference at the AXA Training Centre.

The Reds are aiming for a sixth successive Premier League victory and a third win at Anfield inside a week with the visit of the Bees on Saturday evening.

Ahead of the match, Klopp sat down with reporters in Kirkby to answer questions on the fixture and more. Read on for a summary of what he had to say below…

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On the national anthem being played at Anfield this weekend...

The club’s position is my position. It’s clear, besides that I said a couple of times, this is definitely a subject I cannot have a proper opinion about it. I am from Germany, we don't have a king, or a queen, or these kind of things. I am 55 years old, I have really no experience with that. Watching from the outside, it is a nice thing to watch when all the weddings are massive things in Germany, but nobody really knows. It's like watching a movie, or in a newspaper, because we don't feel that. That's it pretty much. I am pretty sure a lot of people in this country will enjoy the coronation, some will maybe not really be interested, and some will not like it. That’s it. That's all over the country. That is all I can say about it; the rest is my position is the club's position.

On whether there is any update on James Milner's future...

No. With Millie I can say I had over the years and the last few months really good conversations with him. He knows how highly I value him, he's an incredible part of this team and I would've loved to work together with him even longer. What exactly the outcome will be of his decision I think at one point Millie will say that. I'm not sure if that happened already or not. I'm not really aware of that; nothing else to say from me. Nothing will change. I said a couple of times, nothing what happened in the last seven and a half years – the positive things – would have happened without James Milner. So, that's all about that. All other things transfer-wise, you are the first to be informed if something will happen, but before that [there's] nothing to say about it.

On whether his view on the chase for the top four has altered...

No, not really. I said it before, other teams are in much better positions and as long as they're winning football games then we have no chance. We have to keep teams behind us, not all of them – if Brighton win all of their games from now until the end of the season, and how they played last night [against Manchester United], that's possible. It was again an incredible performance, to be honest, a really, really good football game. No, that didn't change. I don't know exactly. We have 59 [points], United has 63. So, we can get 71 maximum. United needs for that eight points in five [games] from 15 points. I think they will do that, to be honest. If they win three games of the rest then that's it for us.

It's not about that. We have enough to do with ourselves and these kind of things. Tomorrow, Brentford, oh my God, it’s such a difficult game to play. You can control the whole game theoretically, not that it's already written in stone, but you could and one set-piece can kill you. They are really good in counter-attacking, set-up, all these kind of things. Throw-ins are great, the corners are great, free-kicks are great, the players are great and the manager is fantastic. So, that’s a really difficult game, how could I think of anything else besides that? That's why, no, we will not change the approach.

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On whether it is important to only focus on Liverpool's form and not on teams around them in the table...

Definitely. If our performances or results put pressure on other teams, that is not in our hands either. I said now, the way they played over the year, the first four teams, nobody looks like losing from now on more games than they win. Never did that in the whole season, why should they do it now? It’s for us, finishing the season as high as somehow possible and that was the plan since we started winning – it was before that as well, but it didn’t look that bright, to be honest. Now it could mean we could be fifth, which is not given yet, sixth is not given. They are all so good: Aston Villa, Tottenham of course, Brighton definitely and maybe Brentford as well, I don’t know exactly the numbers, but they are all fighting for that. So do we and that's all.

On the turnaround in the team's form in the last few weeks...

We needed kind of a fresh start, somehow. We needed a moment where we feel this is going now in the right direction. I said it before, this was the second half against Arsenal. A very important day for us because that day when you are 2-0 down early in the game, everything can happen – or anything. It's like Arsenal can [score] a third or fourth and bam, you stand at home and you lose at Anfield to Arsenal 4-0 or 5-0. That would have been the lowest point for a long, long time, but we turned it around. We maybe should have won the game in the second half; it's not important but it would be helpful now if we had the two [extra] points.

But the performance was good enough and that was, for us, really like, 'OK, from here we can go.' We changed before the game a little bit and in the game we realised that works out and from then on we went with that. It is like a breath of fresh air. It's for me nicer, coaching is different, can talk about slightly different stuff. For the boys, they really buy into it. Our defending got better. I know we still concede chances but that will always happen in the Premier League and things don't change overnight. In possession, we are much more controlled than we were before, it looks like we have a common idea again. We always had a common idea, we just couldn’t see it on the pitch very often. So, it's a good moment with difficult games, with good opponents, outstanding opponents like tomorrow, but from our point of view it is much more enjoyable in the moment than it was before.

On what changed to get Liverpool back on form...

After such a long time, that changing aspects of our game… we always did, by the way. In seven years, we always did. We reached a situation where it worked out extremely well, where we were in all competitions, super-competitive, caused each team massive problems with the way we set it up, the way we played. That all worked out really well. This season it didn’t for different reasons. I've mentioned a couple of times. Front line, new set-up, new players in – some really new, some kind of new – and if you want to play a specific way [then] all the little pieces have to work together, they must really click in between.

That's where it starts, then midfield was too far away, last line was then finally too high or too deep in specific moments and that, all of a sudden, I couldn’t recognise anymore who we are. It is really difficult to change that when you play every three days. You go through things like that and that was the moment now a few weeks ago when we said we have nothing to lose anymore. If that's not a situation where you can change in the season and not waiting until the pre-season, then you will not find a better moment anymore. That feels good, it feels really good for us. New little things with the main same aspects, how we want to defend, the ball orientation is much more in focus again, the counter-press is again a law and not a proposal and these kind of things. We mix a few new ideas with the main ideas and that is the way we want to do it. It is nothing to do with any kind of system, to be honest – rather a little bit about the way we play, really.

On his forward players being able to swap and interchange positions...

We had that with Divock [Origi] when he played in the centre or came from the left. You need that, you need versatility, definitely. That's what we have. That’s why we signed these players, because they can play different positions. Diogo played on the right wing; really good. Harvey came on now on the right wing, which is possible absolutely as well, so we have options. That's true. But that was the idea when we signed the players, that we don't [have] players that can play only one position. It gives you really a struggle if somebody is injured then you don't have a replacement on that position. So, we can react, I would say, in a good way.

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