Friday 14 December 2018

Matip reveals Klopp rocket sparked Liverpool defence into life

Joel Matip said the players were left in no doubt about their defensive shortcomings by Jurgen Klopp
Joel Matip said the players were left in no doubt about their defensive shortcomings by Jurgen Klopp

Critics have been lining up to take shots at Liverpool's fallible defence but centre-back Joel Matip said it was only a verbal volley from manager Jurgen Klopp which registered with the players.

The knives were out after last week's woeful 4-1 defeat at Tottenham and the Reds boss felt the need to deliver a few home truths in the lead-up to what turned out to be a comfortable 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and centre-back Dejan Lovren, withdrawn after half an hour at Wembley and injured in the warm-up against the Terriers, came in for most scrutiny but Matip said collectively all the players had to look at their performance after Klopp's harsh words.

"Against Tottenham me and the rest of the team made mistakes and we got criticised. This is what it means to be at a big club, to be a professional footballer," he said.

"A lot of people are looking, they are waiting, and if we don't perform we expect them to do this.

"Of course it is tough. Are the criticisms always deserved? I don't know, maybe.

"We know we had a lot of problems. I made a lot of problems, I was at fault, I made a number of mistakes, and of course I am not happy.

"We know we did it wrong and he (Klopp) didn't hold back, he said it directly.

"You have to speak about these things directly, honestly, and that is what he did.

"He said it was not good enough - he spoke very honestly about the things that have to change, very directly, but after this he said we carry on and try to prepare for the next game."

Mignolet has arguably been the most criticised Liverpool player over the last two years but he had one of the easiest afternoons of his Anfield career as Huddersfield registered just one off-target shot in 90 minutes.

It was the fourth clean sheet in five home league matches in which they have conceded just one goal.

The Belgium international was under no illusions the result, secured by second-half goals from Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum, will only quieten the critics for so long.

"I don't need anyone telling me when I have had a good or a bad game, I know that myself," said the goalkeeper.

"It is just about staying calm, not getting carried away with what is said because that is part and parcel of playing for Liverpool - you have to deal with it as it's not going to change.

"I didn't have much to do (against Huddersfield) so it wasn't like I was going to help the team but at the same time sometimes you can crumble underneath the pressure.

"That is not going to happen to me."

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