Jürgen Klopp on why win at Arsenal is 'really special'

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on why win at Arsenal is 'really special'

By Sam Williams and James Carroll at Emirates Stadium


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Jürgen Klopp articulated his pride in his team after Liverpool secured a 'really special' 2-0 win over Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

A consummate away performance that saw the Reds match their hosts’ endeavour in the first half before overpowering them in the second saw the gap to Manchester City at the top of the Premier League cut to just one point.

Quickfire goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino soon after the break proved decisive as Klopp’s team registered a ninth successive top-flight victory.

Read a summary of the boss’ post-match press conference below…

Extended highlights: Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool

On whether he saw it as a game of two halves, with Arsenal on top before the break and Liverpool after…

Yeah, we had a better start in the game obviously, directly with the corners, two or three corners we had in a row and then we made a few mistakes. So both teams obviously had possession spells but in our possession spells we didn’t really create because we didn’t have enough bodies between the lines. We played a bit too much around the formation then, trying to find the gaps to pass the ball through. On the other side when Arsenal had the ball then we didn’t defend enough front-footed. We knew with the way they do it in open-play situations means you have to be patient until a specific moment and then you have to be there and when Diogo goes, we have to follow.

Actually, the lines in general were too deep so it was like you said, but I was quite happy when it [the first half] was over because then we could adjust a little bit in half-time. But we needed maybe still a wake-up call or the alarm bell from Thiago, increasing the excitement level a lot! Ali could save us in that moment and from there we did a lot of things better. The first goal is a good example: I think it was Thiago stepping in with the ball, changing the direction in the right way, pass the ball through [and] all of a sudden there was the gap. I don’t think in the first half we had one of these moments; we had all these balls, giving them to the striker, foot on the ball, defending in the back and these kind of things. So we needed to move more in the front line, what we did there, and Diogo then obviously finished it brilliantly off.

On whether he was going to take Jota off before he scored…

Yeah, the plan was before. We didn’t take him off because he scored!

On his attacking options, whether they give the Reds an edge over Manchester City and how he chooses who to select game to game…

I don’t like these discussions at all, to be honest. Talking about City as if they would miss a striker, that’s a joke. The way they played against Crystal Palace they had like five or six clear-cut chances, nothing to do with not having a striker. You’re telling me De Bruyne hit the crossbar because there was no striker? You cannot open discussions like you want: on the one side they are the best team in the world and on the next they need a striker. Football is not that easy; you just put a striker there and all of a sudden he finishes the situations off.

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We need our boys in different ways as well, it’s not that you can just be a striker who scores goals. If you want to be a striker for Liverpool you have to work your socks off in each game, you have to defend the width, you have to defend the whatever. That is important, that is why we change, not because they didn’t score because Diogo scored [tonight] and we still changed. It’s about how much can they help us in all the situations and for that you need fresh legs and it’s not a massive problem, to be honest, to find the right line-up.

It depends on the moment and stuff like this – who played how many minutes… we have the chance [to change], it’s the first time we have it. Usually years ago it was like Sadio and Mo played all the time and Bobby pretty much all the time or Divock played. That was the situation. Maybe that’s the reason why we were never in more competitions… Divock Origi was not in the squad today, that’s a joke as well because if you see him training you would think, how can you leave him at home? But that’s it.

On Liverpool’s recent tough fixture schedule…

I think we had six games more than Arsenal [since the Carabao Cup semi-final], you can see that as well… we constantly travel, we go here, we go there, we are in the hotel and stuff like this. Since we met last time we had six games more than them I think, 13 and seven if I am right. Thirteen games is really mad and it will not stop. Actually, I don’t complain, we don’t complain, it’s just how it is. We wake up in a different hotel and somebody tells you where the restaurant is and you try to remember the number of your room, that’s our life in the moment. That’s why I am so happy today obviously because coming here to Arsenal in that moment, against this team, winning 2-0, that’s really special. That’s really special.

On whether the run of games has given his team momentum…

Because we won them, yes – not all of them, but some. Yes, of course it gives momentum but momentum is the most fragile flower on the planet: somebody just walks past you and steps on it and done and then you work again for I don’t know how long to get momentum back. So, I’m not a big friend of momentum, it’s just get through it really and find the way in the game to get through it and then let’s see where we end up. It’s a tough one.

On whether he prefers to chase or be chased in the title race…

I would prefer now being 20 points in front! Massively!

On the importance of recording 17 clean sheets in the Premier League this season...

That’s a clear agreement of us, a clear agreement. We had to readjust it, to be honest, in early January. We have to agree on defence first because otherwise you are like any team, you win or you lose, you win or you lose. Today we win 2-0 but we had games we won 1-0 and we wouldn’t have won these games if we are not defensively spot on. The last line in general was incredible today. Ali saved us again, but what the two full-backs did was absolutely insane.

I said it already before, but if one of you thinks still that Trent cannot defend then I’m sorry, you have no idea about football. Everybody who says that, it is just madness. To play against Martinelli, what Hendo did running like 50 times to that side because in the second half we defended better and the only real option they had was to play the diagonal balls to Martinelli. Then you have these one-on-one situations constantly. These situations were the winner today; yes, we needed still to score goals, but that we defended them in these situations was essential.

On how pleased he was with the second goal...

Absolutely. Top goal. Top, top, top goal. Robbo really waited and didn’t take the opportunity. He got the ball, stepped in the box and then was waiting for the movement in the box. The he found [Bobby]. I think there were two or three players in a proper position, but Bobby got the goal. That’s the shambles of my position [on the side], I only saw it once and I didn’t even know who scored but I saw the yellow card for Bobby and I thought he would probably have not taken his shirt off if Hendo had scored! I will watch it back.

On whether Liverpool are in rhythm due to their relentless schedule...

Rhythm is good, but rhythm is playing every four or five days. That’s rhythm as well. Playing every three days is rhythm but it’s a really intense one. We are used to it. We want to be part of all competitions, that’s how it is. Yes, we make changes in some games, more in some and others less, but it’s still intense. It’s fine, absolutely fine, but we have kind of rhythm but the opponents all have quality but are really different, all of them. So you always have to find a way against this team. Today it was Arsenal and we found a way and that’s good.

On how his team have closed the gap at the top so impressively...

I really don’t think a lot about City. That’s the truth. I know that the only chance we have is to win an incredible amount of football games because our opponents win an incredible amount of football games. There is not chance to drop. I said it before, in the last few years we pushed each other on insane levels. I forgot the number, but we only had 90-odd points because they had that many points – and they had it only because we had it. That’s the situation.

It makes each game a final and you can enjoy it, absolutely, but you need to be ready for the intensity as well. I don’t think it’s a problem for a human being to be every three days completely focused on what you do but then comes the physical part, it makes you tired and you feel it here and there, so that’s what we are constantly fighting. City, we don’t fight City – we play City in three or four weeks, I don’t know exactly, and then we will give them hopefully a proper fight. Apart from that, we are in a good moment, we are in a mood, that’s all clear, but we know the only way to do it is to dig really deep.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.