Q&ARead every word from Jürgen Klopp's pre-Arsenal press conference

By Liverpool FC


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Jürgen Klopp covered a wide range of topics during his pre-Arsenal press conference.

The Liverpool manager fielded questions from reporters at the AXA Training Centre this morning, ahead of his side's trip to Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Read on to see what he had to say…

On whether having options available is a challenge after several players returned to fitness...

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That is not a challenge, it is for this one moment – the first moment in the season – we kind of have a luxury problem and more players available for different positions than we can start. But it is absolutely no problem, it is just good.

This week, between Arsenal and Burnley, is probably the only week as far as I know where there is no midweek game. After that then we go again with every three days, I think, and we need all of them and we need all of them in a good shape. We had a lot of injuries during the season, but we always could deal with it because we were lucky with the boys who were still available or came back from injury.

Like when Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] was injured, Wataru [Endo] was there and really good, but then Wataru had to go to the Asian Cup, then Macca was fit again. Left-back, Robbo [Andy Robertson] out, Kostas [Tsimikas] could feature there, then Kosti out and Joey [Gomez] had to go left, Conor [Bradley] was finally fit. Same in the last line when whoever was out then [Jarell] Quansah could step in. That's how it was. Diogo [Jota] was injured and then Mo [Salah] had to leave, then Diogo came back. We were unlucky with the injuries or the tournaments, but lucky with the boys coming back. That is why we are where we are – and there is no other reason.

Now, for this one moment, if that is your story this week then congratulations that you really think about that, who will start the game and who will finish it. We need them all, I am really happy they look like they are all in a really good shape. It is a tough opponent coming up, we need to be absolutely at our best. We played them recently, twice; both games were not perfect. At home we played a really good second half but not a good first half. There, we won the game but it was not a game how we usually play it, Arsenal were very dominant for a long time. They had a lot of the ball and chances and we finished our situations off. We have a lot to improve and that's what I am thinking about. Yes, then I think, of course, about who is the best to start that game and who might be better to come off the bench or whatever. No, it's not a challenge, not a problem, it's just the situation we have finally.

On whether he sees the game as a chance to further Liverpool's position at the top of the table...

It's good but you cannot really add that on. Shall I go to the boys in the dressing room and say, 'If we win against Arsenal we are eight points between us and them...'? Everybody knows that. If we lose, 'We are still two points ahead, but then City are the big winner of a game they are not even involved in.' That's outside talk and fine. Inside, we just focus on the game, on the things we have to do, improve on the games we played against them, learn from the games we played against them – because they are really good, they ask for a lot – and try to win. That's all. It is difficult enough anyway and at Arsenal it is probably more difficult anyway, but we are in a good moment and we should use that as well. The things we did well recently, we should pack into this game as well, so let's give it a try.

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On what to learn from the previous meetings with Arsenal...

Will we improve? We will see. What we learn is that we have to be much more dominant in possession. There it was a typical away game. Yes, we had a few problems here and there, that's true, and it's a cup game, it's all about the result, stuff like this. But I think everybody who saw the game knows that Arsenal could have scored before we scored and that could have given the game a completely different direction obviously. But even these kind of games you can win, but I would prefer us to have more moments where we are in charge – as difficult as it is because they are really good.

You saw it in the home game when we played, first half they were super-physical in a good way, not kicking or whatever, really strong on the ball and they won these one-v-one situations, they won press balls, 50-50 situations, they won all that. But they could not cope with us for 90 minutes and probably in the second half we should have won that game, but that's quite normal in football and quite common. I try to give the boys the right information [so] that we can just be better and being better means being more in the game, being more in the game means you have a bigger chance to win it.

On whether it feels like every game is 'must win' in the title race this season...

No idea. I think what we learned over the years is if you want to be around [Manchester] City then you better win all your football games because they do. That's all. This is the league, this is the time where City is dominating, that's how it is. They play incredible stuff and would probably consider themselves not playing their very best season but are where they are. We play a very good season and are in the moment two points ahead of City, and they play kind of a season and are two points behind us, which is really interesting. So, that's the situation we are in. We could discuss that or we don't do it and just take it like it is and go from here and try to play the best season we can play. And when we face them, we want to beat them. In the other games we don't have anything to do with them. That's the thing.

Arsenal, they beat us, they are definitely there. If they don't beat us, then ask them or other people, I don't know what that means. But there are so many games to come and we always judge then the moment and then it's like, by the way, you play there, there, there. You can lose all these games unfortunately, that's how it is. You can win them as well, that's cool, but you could lose them as well and then you lose key players in absolutely the wrong moments. We all have to get through this. You ask these questions and you try to get answers, the only problem is that we cannot give the answers – and not only me, we cannot give the answers because we don't know. But we will try to make it as hard as somehow possible for everyone who wants to finish the season above us. Let's see if we can do that, it's just what we want to try.

On goals coming from midfield but maintaining defensive solidity...

The profile we wanted to sign was pretty clear. It was pretty clear that we wanted to have these eights which can play both directions, good at that, leggy, technically good, stuff like this. But that will not change anything because if you have these kind of midfielders but the rest of the team is not defending on their absolute highest level, it doesn't change. So, the main subject from the first day when we came to the season was that we have to defend better. That means we and not they. That's what we did. It is much clearer again. Offensive line, the way it starts, the high press, the midfield press, everywhere, it is clearer they are all in. That makes a difference – not so much to do with the midfielders that they are there now.

The midfielders we had last year were some of the best this club ever had, so that's how it is. But everything has its time and this maybe as well, but still some of the best we've ever had and some of the best stories I experienced in my life happened because of them. All fine. But it was clear we needed to change and we did. But especially we improved as a team again. We found a way back to our ways, how we want to defend and how we want to be kind of dominant in possession when they have the ball. Yeah, that's the reason, that's all. I think everybody in the team hated the goal Chelsea scored, just because it took a clean sheet away from Ali [Alisson Becker] by not being present for a second. But we all know that with all our good defending, without Ali in decisive moments it would still look slightly different.

But so far that's good, that's how it is. If you want we can talk about everything. We are top of the table, so we are obviously in a good moment and do a lot of good stuff. The problem is only that I'm more interested in the table after the Arsenal game and then after the Burnley game and then after that – not that I think about it but that's what I'm more interested in. So far we played a good season, we developed throughout the season, step by step we became a better version of ourselves, and there's still so much space for improvement, so that's what we will try to make sure.

On scoring late goals this season...

If it would be easy to do then we would have done it for the last few years as well! You have to get into this mood, you have to get into this flow. We got forced into it early in the season because we had to chase games, we were 1-0 down, we had red cards, all these kind of things. We had this experience early in the season that we had to try it until the last second. And I don't have to tell the boys old stories from 16-17, to tell them [when] we turned games around. These are our games early in the season, down to 10 men, turning the game at Newcastle around, winning against Bournemouth, losing in a very awkward way against Tottenham but playing the best game I ever saw with nine men, so it was outstanding.

Learning all this, getting through this, making the right conclusions, taking the right things out of it, and then you do it. I cannot say now that we are working on late goals specifically, but it helps as well because the other stat is that we scored quite a few from the bench, the players we brought on were quite influential. The quality of the boys coming on as well is pretty good as well. Five subs help, that really can change football games. That's it.

On Jota's goalscoring ability...

He just has it. He is a complete package. With – and he knows that and everybody knows that – a few injuries in the wrong time, and a few too many as well. Unlucky, wow. Diogo gets, in each game, knocks like crazy. If I go through the list of medical reports I got over the years since Diogo is here, he is in each and every one of them. Not as injured, just as he has a bruise, has a knock, has that, has that after each game, so he really gets it. On top of that, a couple of times he was out and absolutely for too long. Otherwise his numbers would look completely different. Now he was in a really good shape before he got injured, came back and is in a really good shape. He is literally flying in the moment. Everything looks light, looks fresh, looks explosive and on top of that, he always was an extremely smart footballer.

I think if the world looks at one point towards a country where it's not big but has an incredible amount of good footballers and really smart footballers, it should be Portugal. The amount of players they deliver to the football world, compared to the amount of people, is crazy, and then the kind of players they are – really special, really special. [The] game understanding is a different level and that makes him the player that he is for us.

From the first moment I saw him at Wolves, I was absolutely excited about his potential. He can play all three positions for us up front, which is really special, especially in the moment when Mo is not here. That's how it is with strikers, when you are in a good moment, you better use it. You surf on the wave and then you can add a few on and that's what he is doing. The goal he scored against Chelsea was not only the opener, it was an unbelievable goal. But you can only do that and have that idea to get through these two guys when you are full of confidence. He did that and it was fantastic and he gave this game the right direction for us.

On how pleased he is with Mac Allister's performances...

Very. I'm over the moon about it. There are so many things I said about Portuguese players, I could say the... I'm not sure on all Argentinian players, I don't know that many, but Macca is the same in midfield, just like a football doctor, I don't know. Wonderful story with the dad and the uncle and the cousins and the brothers and they are all footballers and they analyse games already as kids. The dad asks, 'What did you see in the game?' I could not thank his father enough for that knowledge and education. Playing the position the way he plays is very special. Very, very special. [He is] super-aggressive, super-smart and his contribution for all our play in possession is extremely important.

We had it not now for all the years since I am here, but for a few years when we are in a good position that everybody wants to write a book about an individual player and this is fantastic, that is fantastic. They are all good, they are all really, really good. That's why we are, in this moment in time, top of the table. This is the best league and we are top of the table, so what does that say? Are there any bad players in this team? No. It's fine, I answer your questions, but the job is not to reflect on what they did and how fantastic they are, [how] good-looking on top of that and all these kind of things.

It's really about us digging deep into the season, keep going, hold your breath, buckle up, all these kind of things and go for it. That's what we are here for with these fantastic players. And if one thing in each footballer's life, even if it's the last three or four years or the last year, it's always consistency, you want to see it. Yes, that's your potential mixed up with attitude and you will have quality again, again, again, again, and then after the season we will see what we learned from that. But for the moment, yes, the base is good, [but] still to be extended and make sure we are in a good position for the run-in.

Alexis Mac Allister midfielder
Alexis Mac Allister
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