Jürgen Klopp on Watford, five subs, a busy April and more

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Watford, five subs, a busy April and more

Published 1st April 2022
By Joe Urquhart and Glenn Price

Jürgen Klopp discussed a wide range of topics during his pre-Watford press conference on Friday afternoon.

The Reds boss previewed the Saturday lunchtime kick-off in the Premier League by answering journalists' questions at the AXA Training Centre.

Read on for a summary of Klopp's comments…

On the Premier League rule change allowing teams to make five substitutions in matches from next season...

Great news. It's top news for football, it's top news for the players. We spoke a lot about it and the situation is that we all know that it will not get less games. So nobody will step aside, like no competition in no country really, and the international games will get more – so the European Championship will be with more teams. All these kind of things. So for the players, it will be always more. With all the things we know about football, we try to help them with recovery as good as we can and it's much better than it used to be, but still the games are the most intense part of the week – and [that's] three times a week. There's no other sport where you have that for such a long period. So everything we could do or we can do, we should do – and that's what obviously now the Premier League understood as well and the Premier League clubs understood as well. I'm really happy for football and for players.

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On Sadio Mane's Senegal qualifying for the 2022 World Cup at the expense of Mohamed Salah and Egypt...

Obviously I'm really happy for Sadio, that he could make it. And I'm obviously very disappointed and feel with Mo. I don't think the situation with the penalty and the laser was particularly cool, that's clear as well. So I feel for him, but I'm happy for Sadio as well. That's football, we are used to that, that's all the time like this. It's different when two mates in such a big game play against each other, but they both are top professionals now again, very emotional people as well, but I'm pretty sure they both will deal with it in the right way.

There's no doubt about it that Senegal is probably, in the moment, the best team in Africa and Egypt did really well. They really took them to the wire and twice in a penalty shootout, so that's the closest you can get in a game like this. Senegal is an extremely talented squad and Egypt did really well. I'm not sure if they can see it like this exactly, but from my point of view they should because you cannot get closer than they did, and it was a bit unlucky with the draw and stuff like this. I think pretty much against all other teams Egypt would have qualified for the World Cup but because it was Senegal again, it was not enough. That's it.

On Liverpool and Manchester City both playing teams in the relegation zone this weekend... 

The good thing is, if we would see it like that, they wouldn't have 70 points and we wouldn't have 69 points because these games are ridiculous. It's so difficult to play, if you don't find rhythm, if you don't find momentum. It is so difficult. They can all hit you from everywhere; from set-pieces, from counter-attacks, all these kinds of things. The good thing about my team is that they never care about the opposition [or] the table, they really listen to what I tell them about the team. I am, in these meetings, 100 per cent honest. I don't make the team stronger than they are, an opponent. I don't make them weaker than they are. I just say what they do and then on top of that, there's very important information.

But they didn't play for a while against us, so that's now really important that we make the difference. Whatever they think about us, we have to surprise them with different things, with intensity, with enthusiasm, with positivity, with these kinds of things. So, it's for sure not an easy weekend. Neither for us, nor for Man City. Burnley is the last place you want to go. Burnley, obviously, has a big chance to stay in the league and for that they cannot make the choice where they want to get the points from. So, that's how it is for the teams. Same situation with Watford, of course. So, it will be tough, but no problem. We are ready for these kinds of things.

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On needing his full squad throughout April and how challenging it will be as manager...

It's not the first month we ever had with eight games. Not sure you could fit [in] a ninth game [or whether] it would be possible, somebody will try. Full squad, probably. For this full squad, the majority of the squad hopefully we can use because that means the boys will be all fit. For example, yesterday Naby couldn't train. [He] felt a little bit here and there. I don't know exactly yet, nobody called me yet about Naby for today. So we will see how he is for today. Apart from that, we had them pretty much all available. So, hopefully they are all fit and then we will use the majority of [the] squad, of course.

On teams fighting for Premier League survival...

It's more challenging because you work with lesser confidence. You have lesser results. Fighting for winning a league, the teams you are fighting with they're winning pretty much all the football games. That's rather positive pressure. If you are 'down south', then it's, yeah, you obviously are there because you didn't win a lot of games, and if you lose another one that doesn't help, really. So, if we can stay calm and you see how experienced the managers are that are now involved in this battle, it will be incredibly interesting because I am really sure the managers have exactly the right nerves for it. They are all at the right mindset for it. So that will be really interesting until the last match, I am pretty sure. In the end, I enjoy more, and I had both for a long time in my life, I enjoy more to be on the other end of the table. But both is very challenging and very interesting.

Published 1st April 2022