Friday 28 October 2016

'It was far from a friendly'- Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp on cantankerous Chelsea clash

Tom Rooney

Published 28/07/2016 | 14:51

Until last night’s defeat to Chelsea in the International Champions Cup tie at the Rose Bowl, Liverpool had notched up four consecutive victories without conceding a goal in their pre-season campaign thus far, but the apparent exhibition game will not be remembered for those particular statistics

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In total, referee Baldomero Toledo booked five Liverpool players, Chelsea’s goal scorer, Gary Cahill, and, of course, dismissed Cesc Fabregas for his horrific tackle on Ragnar Klavan.

A contest that was meant to have little more on the line than the opportunity for the respective managers to bed in new ideas, players and cohesion for the season ahead, ultimately saw a total of 37 fouls committed in front of a 56k strong crowd in Pasadena.

Speaking after the game, which was decided by Cahill’s 10th minute header, Liverpool manager Klopp gave a fitness update on some of his players who had suffered during the previous attrition.

Recent arrival Marko Grujic was hospitalised after a first half clash of heads with Bertrand Traore, which the German admitted to be being worried by, while Klavan seems to have suffered no long term affects from Fabregas’ challenge.

Defender Joe Matip, who was absent from the tie with an ankle issue, is thought to be recovering well.

“The biggest problem for me in this moment is that Marko Grujic is in hospital, because he can’t remember anything. That’s not too cool.

“Hopefully it’s not too serious but of course a young boy in this situation is not too cool. Injuries after games like this in pre-season is the biggest problem obviously.

“I expect him (Matip) to start the season. But for this, he has to train a little bit more. The first two-and-a-half weeks were really good, he became better and better and then he was out.

“Now I think it is a week or more he has been out. He was in a training group today and hopefully he can be back in team training as soon as possible. The season start at this moment is not in doubt.”

He opined that the game’s physicality was a result of players still rediscovering their sharpness, and said he felt that the referee had performed well.

"It was normal intensity with a few hard challenges, that's how it is. All of the players are not in 100 per cent shape so are sometimes a little bit late in the challenges, that's how it is.

"The ref thought from the beginning he should show early yellow cards. I don't think it was too hard. It was far away from a friendly game and that's OK, that's why we are here."

Of Fabregas’ transgression, the former Dortmund boss was not overly critical in his assessment and commended the Spaniard for apologising afterwards.

"It's a red card. He came by us in the dressing room and said sorry.

"He came too late in the challenge, of course. Sometimes in life if you are too late you get a red card, especially in football. That's how it was," he said.

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