PreviewPress conference: Jürgen Klopp's analysis of 'super-interesting' Brighton and season run-in

By Glenn Price and Joe Urquhart


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Jürgen Klopp analysed the 'super-interesting' challenges his Liverpool side will face when they come up against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.

The Reds return from the international break to kickstart the season's run-in with a test against Roberto De Zerbi's Seagulls at Anfield in the Premier League.

Klopp previewed the encounter during a press conference at the AXA Training Centre on Friday – read a summary of what he told reporters…

On how he views the Brighton game...

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Independent of the other [Manchester City v Arsenal] game obviously, because it's a Premier League game and I cannot remember us sitting here and I told you that a point would be great in a home game or even an away game. We go for three, that's clear. But we all know as well how difficult it is against Brighton.

Roberto is doing obviously an incredible job there and it's a different game against Brighton, definitely. I think we improved over 18, 20 months since he's there. The first game was surprising – I think we were the first opponent after he joined the club, if I'm right, and we had no clue what we have to expect. We knew how he played in his former club, we knew what Graham [Potter] did, but nobody knew how that would look in the end and it was quite impressive how quick he obviously got the team in his way. Since then, it only got better, it's really impressive. It's a different way of playing football.

We need a really, really good atmosphere and understanding [of] the game as well because it's about having possession. They want possession, we want possession and it's about that we really need to have more possession than in recent games against them – it's the best way to defend them. When they have the ball, you have to be ready to suffer, it's not a normal pressing game, they play in a different way. It goes a bit against our rhythm, which we usually like, but we have to break their rhythm. It will be super-interesting, I'm really looking forward to it. But with all respect to Brighton, we want to win this game and it has nothing to do with the other game, obviously. Like all the other games as well, we want to win. Will it happen? I don't know but we will give it a try.

This part of the season is obviously the one where we brought ourselves into a position where we are in a position to fight for everything – and that's what we want to do. If you would have told me last summer, 'After the international break in March, you will be around there with Arsenal and City' I would have said, 'Yeah, give me a contract, I sign it now.' And here we are. Nobody knows how it will end, nobody knows where we will be, but we will give it a proper try, and it starts on Sunday. Super-intense schedule for all of us but it's not interrupted anymore by any kind of international duties, so that means everybody can focus on club football, and that's exactly what we will do.

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On what makes Brighton such a difficult opponent...

The way they play. It's a really different way – I couldn't coach that, it goes against my personality, but it's a good watch. It's very demanding for the players, it's clear positioning, hold your position, keep your positioning, pass in the right position, pass in the right moment. He's a top coach, he's doing really well. It's super-interesting to see. I like watching them, to be honest. That makes it tricky. It's just a different way. It's possession-based but even more structured from a positional point of view from each player than maybe City or whoever has a bit more freedom in. They do really well. On their day, they can beat any team. But now [the] good news, we can do that as well, so we will try.

On the key to being successful during the run-in...

Give absolutely everything and ignore the mess you try to create. After each game, you won it, you lost it, now you are champions, now you are out, now you have no chance anymore, now you have to do it. So, just ignore that. Just dig in and go. We have to give absolutely everything in each and every game – home, away, in England, in Italy, wherever we go. It's for us potentially 12 games for sure, maybe 14, maybe 15. I would say that's not the biggest number but it's only a short period of time. It's all tricky and we need luck, everybody needs luck with injuries [and] now we didn't have that so far. Hopefully we have it now with the boys coming back. We need them and then it's in each game to find a way to win the game. We found a way how it's good for us to play, and that's what we have to do.

Before the break we had two games – [Manchester] United and City. In parts of these games, they're the best games we played this season. City, definitely after 15 minutes, [we] never played as good against City. United after 15 minutes [was] outstanding, didn't finish it off and the last 30 minutes, or the extra-time, was too much for us that day. I saw that as well but that's normal. We had a real tough period before that. Now we are back, I would love to say we are all re-energised, but the boys have games. Anyhow, it's good because we play on Sunday [and the] last game was Wednesday morning in America – I think Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] had that – but that's enough time to recover and now let's go.

On injured players returning...

That is what I mean with luck, we need them. They need to be back. They're not tomorrow back, they are not Sunday back, probably not next week. But then step by step we have to get through all these different periods and then the boys who come back actually don't have time to find their feet again, even when they were out for a long time. They pretty much have to deliver. It all works if we just agree on one fact that it starts all with defending, it starts for us always with counter-pressing. If you do that well then we have the rhythm to play football. If you are just concerned about playing football or whatever, these kind of things, then we are out.

How I said, these are all finals for us – it is like that. It does not mean you cannot lose one or whatever. It just means it is a final, each of these games. But that should not put us in a rush or whatever, that we have to win the final in the first three minutes. We have to play them like normal football games. Thank God we played already 28 games or whatever this season and learned as a group together how you can react in a game, how you can find a way into the game – sometimes from the start, sometimes we need a few minutes to learn from the game. How I said, you ask a lot of times over the year about these kind of things and it's not that we don't want to talk about it, we just don't know. But now it's not important anymore.

We are where we are and these are the last 10 games. It's too early to see the finishing line but we are 28 games further than the beginning of the season. We got a few really important informations and a lot of answers I liked on questions we didn't know how to answer in the beginning of the season. I think everybody is excited about it and rightly so. Anfield will be rocking on Sunday. We have not only home games unfortunately but we have still a few and there we must make the difference. And wherever we go, we have to ignore the fact that it's not a home game because they are all tricky. Wherever it is, they're all tricky. We have to actually play our best football and get results – but that's how it is if you want to win the Premier League. That's how it is. [If] you want to win anything, you need to play top, top, top football, you need to be lucky – what I hope we are from now on with injuries – and then let's see what we can do.



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