Press conferenceJürgen Klopp: We couldn't make West Ham clash more important
Liverpool are setting the maximum possible importance on Wednesday's clash with West Ham United, explained Jürgen Klopp.
The Reds will aim to follow up their hard-fought Premier League win over Manchester City at the weekend when they swiftly return to Anfield.
Standing in their way in the 7.30pm BST kick-off will be David Moyes’ side, who are unbeaten in their last five matches and were one of only two teams to beat Klopp’s men in the top flight last season.
At his pre-match press conference, the Liverpool boss detailed how his squad are hitting the ‘natural barrier’ when it comes to motivation for the game.
“When you create a start like we created, there is a moment in the season when you realise, ‘OK, that means from now on they are all finals’ and that’s already a few weeks ago that we realised that,” said Klopp.
“I’m not sure we can give the West Ham game even more importance than we already put in because 100 per cent, there is a natural barrier. But yes, it’s very important, absolutely, and we respect them a lot.
“They caused us a lot of problems, here and there [at London Stadium] as well all the time. David is just doing an incredible job and now brought in new players, really quality players, options to change.
“Michail Antonio had to play like 80 games in the past pretty much and now they can share it a little bit up front there, with international [Europa Conference League] duty. That makes absolute sense.
“[Lucas] Paqueta, great player; [Thilo] Kehrer I know obviously from Germany, top-class defender. Only to name a few. That’s just the development of West Ham and that makes it for us even more difficult. But the importance will not change – it’s very, very important.”
A pulsating showdown with City on Sunday ended in Liverpool’s favour as Mohamed Salah’s consummate finish in front of the Kop secured a 1-0 success.
Reflecting on the result, Klopp underscored the impact of supporters on the outcome – and his appreciation for their understanding and commitment.
“My English is not good enough to express how important it [the result] was. Very. From all different perspectives,” said the boss.
“It was the performance we needed, it was the way we had to defend, it was the way we had to commit.
“And I don’t want to cut out our supporters, because what they did so far in this season was absolutely exceptional, a very emotional crowd in a situation [where] we all are a bit spoiled, it might be difficult sometimes but in the end the boys find a way. But our supporters understood pretty quickly in this season that it’s obviously not a smooth start into the season.
“How they react and how they perform in the games – not only the home games, in the away games as well – is absolutely exceptional. I really don’t take that for granted. That makes it special and then something like this is possible.
“So it was massive, this game. To win it was massive. You can lose this game 1-0 and play exactly the same game, then we see as well, ‘OK, we cause them problems on our day.’ But in the end, to really feel and use it you need the result as well – and that’s what we got.”
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Klopp was shown a red card in the latter stages of Sunday’s fixture, though expects to be able to take up his position on the touchline for the visit of West Ham.
“I think I will be there tomorrow because nothing really happened yet. I don’t think that something will happen tomorrow, to be honest, a few hours before the game,” he said.
“I still think I should have dealt differently with the situation, which I actually do usually. I explained after the game: in this moment you could not bring me in this mood, no chance. But the whole game led to that maybe a little bit, the way it went.
“It was a very, very intense game with a lot of decisions both managers didn’t understand, on both sides. This was then for me like… in Germany we say ‘the one drop that let the bucket overflow’. Does this make sense somehow?
“I’m not happy with my reaction but that’s the way it was, everybody saw it. I was sitting after the game in the office of [referee] Anthony Taylor and spoke completely calmly about all the situations, about how he saw the game and how I saw the game. It was a completely calm discussion.
“But anyway, that’s the situation: I got a red card and now we wait for the process, pretty much.”
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WATCH: Klopp's pre-match press conference in full