Jürgen Klopp on Wolves, Van Dijk, Jota, a 'big' week and more

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Wolves, Van Dijk, Jota, a 'big' week and more

By Joe Urquhart and Glenn Price


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Jürgen Klopp is hopeful Liverpool can give their season a 'little push' this week ahead of two important home Premier League fixtures at Anfield.

The Reds host Wolverhampton Wanderers in L4 on Wednesday night, before the visit of Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.

Klopp sat down with reporters at the AXA Training Centre on Tuesday to preview the upcoming midweek contest – covering a range of topics in the process.

Read on to see what the boss had to say…

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On Virgil van Dijk being named in the FIFA FIFPro Men's World 11...

I don't think he got in this team just because of his last four or five performances, it was because of [the] last year and I think that's fully and absolutely deserved. He obviously likes it a lot, I could see some reaction, so that's cool. He was there [at the awards]. [He] asked me if he can go there, yes of course, it's no problem... it's great. Once I was there, it's a nice event. So it's worth going.

On Van Dijk trying to get back to his best level after his injury...

It's completely normal... players get injured and then come back. And then one game we give them, [even] in his first game [back] probably people say he's not at his best yet. OK, then give them three days more time and then they should be at their best. How can that work? In the good old times people said to be back to your best you need as long as you were injured, thank God that was not true – whenever, '90s, somebody believed that. I know it from my own injury when I had a long-term one and they told me that – OK, it's going to be a tough time then. But it's not like this, it's completely normal that you find rhythm and stuff like this and it's always important they still get the minutes. We get judged every day for the things the people see in this moment and that's it then. But I don't think it's too difficult to ignore that and just to work yourself through that, then you go and you will arrive at your best again and everything is fine.

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On another crucial week in the season coming up with two home games...

It's a super-important week, you don't have to make it smaller than it is, we cannot ignore that – why would I? We have two home games, tomorrow thank God only one... but yes, I would love to give the season a little push in this week, and we need results for that and to get a result you need good performances. Nothing I saw since the last game in training gave me the impression [that] we don't have a chance. The few sessions we had, [we] looked good. I know we all understand, players as well, so we have to give it a proper, proper, proper go in this game tomorrow night against a team [Wolves] we played more often than any other team I think this season. It's good, we know a lot about each other, they know, of course, a lot about us as well. We know it will not be easy but that's not the most surprising information, so we have to make sure we are ready, and I know Anfield will be – then we have to do our part.

On whether it is difficult to prepare when playing a team four times in 11 games...

No. [It's] not more difficult. It doesn't make it more difficult. We have the last games we saw them [with] different line-ups to when we played them. So, it's a mix of the last information and information we had from our games. That's pretty much all. No, it makes it not more difficult. It's a bit strange but it's not the first time. I think once when I'm here we had Arsenal where we played them twice in four days in different competitions, stuff like this. So, we all have that from time to time, [it's] completely fine.

On the importance of Diogo Jota's recent return and potential impact...

Very, [it's] massive. Diogo is an exceptional player. The next one he was injured, stuff like this, and [he] needs to get rhythm now. I think it helped him a lot [starting]. Yes, he was tired, of course, after the game – that's clear. [It's the] same with him, we'll have to see how he reacted and then finally today we have to make these kind of decisions [on] who can start or who should start. He will definitely be involved again if nothing happens. It's a top-class player, so it's great; versatile, he can play on the left wing, he can play in the centre and on the right wing as well. So, that's really helpful for this busy period we are having.

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Watch: Klopp's pre-Wolves press conference

On Liverpool's last game with Wolves...

I don't have to pick up the feeling again after that game – the players know it anyway. But there are important informations from that game which we need to use. To which extent, we will have to see. We like to and have to – and usually do – focus on ourselves. The last game against Palace is as important as the last game we played against Wolves. It's different informations but it's all important. My job is to make sure which informations I give to the players, because I have all of them but there are definitely too many informations, so now we have to figure out which we give to the boys. And one part of it will be – without saying it probably – [that] we lost there last time 3-0. It was not a cool day – it was actually the opposite of that. But the main difference is that we play at Anfield and we have to make that count as well. I don't think Wolves sits there now and my colleague says, 'Last time we smashed them 3-0, so don't worry. Everything will be fine.' These are different games and even two, three weeks in between games is a long period. So, it's not a big point.

On three consecutive Premier League clean sheets...

In between we conceded five – we cannot ignore that completely, even when it was Real Madrid. Generally, the defending was absolutely OK. Most of the things are OK but we have to make sure we bring it all together to the next level. I love Ali making saves but I would have no massive problem with him making no saves in the game – and not because he concedes so many but because they don't have a shot on target. There are different ways of defending. We can have a clean sheet and the goalie has 20 saves, and you can have a clean sheet and the goalie didn't see the ball, so that's a massive difference.

We can improve in all departments, we know that, but when you have a clean sheet then some things went absolutely right and it's the main reason, I would say, for a win because we don't concede. You have to score one and from all goalscoring results, it's the easiest one. Because if you need five, it's more difficult. But one, with the quality we have and can bring on the pitch, [we] should be able to do that. From there, I would love to go on – but, again, it's OK.



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