Thursday 22 March 2018

'I hear doubt in each question' - Jurgen Klopp puts media on notice following Leicester win

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith

Tom Rooney

Even the most exacting of Liverpool fans could never claim the gripe of boredom when following the exploits of the current crop, and yesterday’s superlative victory over Leicester City was just the latest example of the extremes this side are capable of veering between.

When the moment takes them and the gears click smoothly into place, Liverpool, in the image of Jurgen Klopp, are a sight for sore eyes and, indeed, a maelstrom of precision for defences.

At Anfield on Saturday afternoon, in front of the renovated main stand, they took their time but eventually overwhelmed a Leicester outfit incapable of coping with the intensity with which Liverpool operated.

To a man, including Daniel Sturridge, the hosts outworked, outfought and outplayed the champions, who, since preseason, have been in the grips of a post title winning malaise.

A brace for the dynamic Roberto Firmino sandwiched two fine efforts from Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana, while Jamie Vardy briefly made a game of it after being gifted a goal by makeshift centre half Lucas Leiva.

And all this without Philippe Coutinho, who was absent due to his exploits with Brazil during the week.

Liverpool’s ruthlessness in front of goal was in stark contrast to their 1-1 draw with Spurs, during which they managed just three shots on target from 13 attempts at White Hart Lane.

The performance would make for a startling juxtaposition next to the one offered during their 2-0 defeat by Burnley.

The win was Liverpool’s first in the league since the opening day against Arsenal, and the challenge now is to maintain consistency, something they have failed to achieve under Klopp. In fifth place, they have a real opportunity to embed themselves in the Champions League bracket.

Speaking after the match, the Liverpool boss gave a relatively tempered analysis of the display and spoke of the work done during the fortnight between fixtures due to the international break

He let the attending press corps know in no uncertain terms that he was fully aware of their scepticism at the extensive list of players he acquired this summer.

“What can I say? We had now two weeks and I met a lot of you and I hear nearly in each question a little bit of doubt – are you really sure?

“When we spoke about the transfer window – are you really sure? You don’t say it but I can hear it, even when I’m not a native speaker. It’s our job to prove that we are as strong as I think we are. Today we showed it in a few moments, of course.”

The outstanding contributions of Firmino and Mane - a recent arrival - were put to him, but Klopp refused to single out any one player, while looking ahead to a daunting trip to Stamford Bridge next Friday.

Chelsea meet Swansea this afternoon as they go in search of a fourth consecutive victory.

“I love these players. What about Lallana? What about Matip? I’m really on the side of the players. I really am.

“And now Friday, Chelsea, it’s pretty much clear it will be a real challenge too. Chelsea plus the Italian manager (Antonio Conte) – not a lot of space, I’m pretty sure. So we have to be prepared and we will be prepared,” he said.

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