Press conferenceJürgen Klopp's Arsenal preview: 'We have to push the train and keep going'
Jürgen Klopp spoke of the need for his Liverpool side to 'push the train' and energise Anfield when Arsenal visit this weekend.
The Reds return to their home ground on Sunday afternoon for the first time in more than a month as the current Premier League leaders arrive for a 4.30pm BST kick-off.
To preview the encounter, Klopp held a press conference at the AXA Training Centre on Friday morning – read on for a summary of what he had to say...
On facing Arsenal...
It's obvious it's a different team, clear. Mikel is building this team for a few years now and obviously the outcome is pretty impressive. The way they play is fun to watch, to be honest, it's super-lively, really good football, top players on the pitch, good match plans. Good. It's not exactly what you can say about us in the moment, so that shows you what the situation is. But at least for a while we can mention, again, it's Anfield. So, we are at home and still have to show reaction after reaction after reaction – we have to – and improvement. That's what we will absolutely try on Sunday.
On what is the key to seeing a 'brighter, braver Liverpool'...
Good moments in games, building on that, so that's how it is. Good challenges, good battles in little areas and then keeping the ball. Because our main problem at Chelsea now when you look at that game it was like flipper – we have the ball, we give it away, we have the ball, we give it away. It's like you cannot watch that quick. From the analysis point of view, you think the computer is broke and that's obviously not how it should be. What I liked about the game was the desire, the passion we put in. But, of course, there were still two situations where they scored but it was a handball and the other one was offside. We still have to prove the point how it would have looked if we are 1-0 down.
But again, it's like that, so this game is gone and now we have a new chance and that's how it always is. We have two days longer to prepare the game, it means we have three sessions, three proper sessions, which is very, very helpful, where we really can train, and it usually always helped us. That's what we need this time again as well. So, we will give it a proper try. That we need Anfield is clear and that's why I said after the Chelsea game, I think people saw a few things which they think, 'OK, that was better than before.' So, come on, let's go from here.
On how important the Anfield crowd can be...
Very important. So obviously we need 40, 50,000 Liverpool [fans] in away games and it might look different. It's not the only thing we should rely on, it's not that we think, 'OK, it's Anfield, so we will win.' There were a lot of tough games and we lost unfortunately games as well here, which was not helpful at all. But it's no secret that the combination of our people and the ground and then the boys is a pretty good combination, so that's what we have to throw in as well – but not relying on it. We have to push the train. In this moment, I have a very good feeling that we can do that.
- Want to watch Inside Training? Subscribe to LFCTV GO now and get a month FREE using the code GOFREE23
On whether this week's games will still 'define' Liverpool's season…
Unfortunately it could, or it can, let me say. If we win this game at the weekend – which is the plan obviously – then we would have four points out of these games. That would be a completely normal situation for us, I would say. In the past when we played Chelsea in our best moments it was not much better, to be honest. We played there, it was always difficult; maybe might have won one or two games there but most of the time we drew there and stuff like this. Last season I sat at home with COVID, we started very well and then got more or less pushed to the wall and it was a draw in the end. Losing at City is possible, it was always possible. And now we have to win a football game and then we will see again.
I understand from your point of view it's super-difficult to find new questions every week but believe me, it's even more difficult to find new answers. That's what I thought 9.30 [press conference] and you all stay at home and you can write what you wrote last week! It doesn't make the situation better. We have to play better football, how I said. We have to keep the ball in the decisive areas, we cannot pass the ball into their feet. It sounds so simple but the last game is a super example against Chelsea; two teams who played last year an incredible level and the teams were not that different to the teams who showed up now – and both were not able to do that. Now we can say, '22 players don't want' and '11 players from us don't want'. No, it's not that they don't want. They want desperately. They want it even more than in good times, even more. But it didn't work out.
That just shows us what happens if the confidence level is obviously not on the highest level. That's why we have to go through and you cannot force it really and say, 'Come on, be more confident.' That doesn't work. We have to help the boys with different things and that's what we do. And in a home game a massive boost can be the crowd obviously. Celebrating challenges, celebrating sliding tackles, a ball goes out. That's where it all started; we block a ball, we don't win it but we block it and it goes out – it's the first little victory. That's what you have to go and build on, and all of a sudden nobody thinks about confidence anymore, [he] has it. Then they are themselves again and that's what we are working on – that this will not happen in 2028, it will happen in an ideal world on Sunday and from there we go again and again and again.
On if the squad has shown a 'response' after he made six changes in midweek…
We had now one proper session since then. The boys don't show me that they don't want, not at all. 'Oh, you left me out so now you can try to sort it yourself' or whatever. This is not the situation we are in. I said it before the game and I say it now: this was a different week because we play all three days pretty much but from now on if we don't play three times a week then we have more time to train and then I have to and I will make decisions about the team based on what I saw in training. That's it.
That opens the door for everybody because of course if you play three times a week then the boys who play all the time, they recover. The other boys can train well but the last game we won, so why would you make six changes because we saw one session where a few players show up? That's a different situation so you let it go and you keep on building and building and building. Now, what can we build on? We have to change, we have to find a basis where we really can build on.
That's why I said, first step: intensity, desire, passion. Good at Chelsea, really, that was good. The rest, not so much. But it's fine – let's go from there. I cannot constantly ask for something I didn't get and just put the finger into that. Development doesn't work like this. 'But this was still not OK, this was not OK and this was not OK.' You [the media] are allowed to do that absolutely, you are allowed to do that because you don't work with the boys. But I'm not; the one in charge is not allowed to do that. I'm really calm in this moment. You might be surprised but I'm really calm. I'm in it, I see everything and I base my decisions on that. And in the end, we will see what the outcome is. I cannot do more. And, again, we have to keep going and we will.