Jürgen Klopp on Rangers win, change in system and Darwin Nunez display

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Rangers win, change in system and Darwin Nunez display

Published 4th October 2022
By James Carroll and Glenn Price at Anfield

'The game we wanted to play,' is how Jürgen Klopp summarised Liverpool's 2-0 win over Rangers at Anfield in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The Reds registered their second victory in Group A after defeating the Scottish Premiership side with goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah.

Alexander-Arnold put the hosts ahead after seven minutes with a brilliant free-kick, before the advantage was doubled early in the second half through Salah's converted penalty. 

Read on for a full transcript of Klopp's post-match press conference...

On his assessment of the win...

Good game – actually the game we wanted to play. A really good defensive performance in a new structure. Offensively, [we] created an awful lot without using, Rangers' goalie made a couple of really nice saves and we missed some others. But I liked it a lot. The two goals we scored were really nice. OK, one is a penalty but the move from Lucho for the pen was really good and we played good in these areas. And the free-kick from Trent was outstanding. I said it now to all the others [interviewers], I can say it here again: set-piece goals are actually my favourite goals because you don't have to wait for VAR, you just can celebrate them. So in the end, I think Rangers came up a little bit but with one situation really where Ali had to make a save, but apart from that, I liked the game a lot.

On whether he had any 'slight frustration' his side didn't convert more of their chances...

No frustration about that at all. I really didn't want to sit here now and talk about a 4-0 or whatever. It's 2-0, top, gives us three points. Let's keep going.

Highlights: LFC 2-0 Rangers

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On Darwin Nunez's display...

The way the boys moved up front today together I thought was extremely, extremely good for only one session working on it, to be honest. We never did it before, we had now one session with a low intensity because we only played recently. So, you just see how good a striker he is to be constantly in these situations. I think everybody saw tonight that this [scoring goals] will happen, so all good.

On whether 'external criticism gave his side a point to prove'...

I can't wait for the moment when I can read newspapers again because I didn't read them for weeks! I don't know what's happening in the world, to be honest – I know the big news, the bad news. I have no clue but the criticism is completely fine. We are not over the moon about our situation, let me say it is like this. We played here some really good games – it's not like 10 years ago, it's not too long ago – and Champions League nights at Liverpool are always quite enjoyable usually. That's what happened tonight again. That we were really up, I don't think it had too much to do with the situation. The game gave us this job to do. But that's how I said, I saw tonight a team fully committed – that's what you saw obviously as well – and that's what I liked a lot and that's what we have to do.

On whether Rangers' set-up with a back five surprised him...

No, I think they played against Napoli with five and at Ajax they started and changed. No, no, not surprised. We had to prepare for both. I think our set-up was the biggest surprise tonight, let me say it like this, that's for sure. We surprised ourselves! Yeah, these situations can then happen. It was difficult to defend. I think Diogo Jota moved particularly well in between the lines, Darwin kept them away. But we will see what we do when we come to Rangers. We respect them a lot and we know it's a different game, different occasion and we don't even think that we are kind of halfway through or the right side. No. That's why I said 2-0, top result, tough game, fight, good, go from here.

On the change in Liverpool's system...

Actually, [it was] nothing to do with the game. It had a little bit to do with the game, but not too much – it was for us. We wanted to defend differently to what we usually do; if you have seen us for a few years now, if somebody was criticising us for defending, it was more [people] talking about a high line. Then people created now, when we were in a defensive pressing situation, they created a lot of chances, that's rare. It was rare, but happened more. That's why we set it up slightly different, closed different gaps. We knew obviously the left side of Rangers is the creative side with Ryan [Kent] and [Borna] Barisic, and [James] Tavernier is a big threat in the finishing situations, so that was the part that had to do with the game, but apart from that no.

On Alexander-Arnold's performance...

He played a good game, defensively especially, a wonderful goal. How I said, we set it up differently. We cannot talk about it every week, but Trent has no defensive problem; we had a defensive problem – hopefully had – because our timing was not right and we take risk in defending, everybody knows that. If then the timing is not right, you open gaps and these gaps are very often [in] the back of Trent. Not because of him, but because of other situations and then he has to track back. Yes, how I said, we were not in the perfect moment and that's why we just adjusted it slightly.

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On Alexander-Arnold's free-kick to open the scoring...

A wonderful goal. What can I say? I would now say, 'It's Trent!', but it's long ago that he last scored a free-kick, so I am happy he had this still in his locker.

On whether he feels there is a gap between Liverpool and Rangers...

No. I would be calm about that. Rangers are a really good team, doing really well and played an exceptional season in Europe last year, unlucky they lost the final. They qualified for the Champions League and that's all positive. You cannot have it all in one, you need a bit of time to adapt to Europe as well. Maybe it is the wrong press conference to talk about Celtic, I am not sure if you will all stand up and go if I say the word, but I think both of these clubs made a big steps in the last few years. If you want, you can talk about 'the gulf' between, or you see how close they came and that's pretty much the way I would look at it.

Published 4th October 2022