Monday 20 November 2017

'The funny German talks about the wind' - Jurgen Klopp bullish in face of Liverpool slide

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Picture: PA
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Picture: PA

Tom Rooney

Liverpool may have just one win in 2017 but, ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Wolves, manager Jurgen Klopp is adamant that his team are still moving in the right direction.

Who knows if some odd hex befell Liverpool on the stroke of midnight on December 31 but, since then, their results and performances have taken an unfavorable turn. They have two draws and a loss to their name in the Premier League and, over two legs in the EFL Cup semi-final, deservedly lost twice to a plucky Southampton side.

Indeed, their sole victory since the turn of the year came against Plymouth Argyle, when Lucas Leiva’s headed winner sealed a FA cup replay victory. Even the recent return from injury by Philippe Coutinho, who has also committed his future to the club, does not seem to have imbued the Reds greatly.

However, Klopp has said that, although morale in the squad has dipped as result of their poor run, he believes his players are progressing.

“How could the confidence be exactly the same after these results than winning 10 games? Of course it’s different. If we suffer a little bit, then it looks like we suffer a lot,” he said.

“I see always the progress. I speak about mistakes too. I am really fine. I don’t like the results but I see we are fighting for all the results. I am more than okay and looking forward to the next opportunity tomorrow (against Wigan).”

Indeed, Klopp made headlines for the odd excuse he made for Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to the Saints - with Shane Long netting the decisive strike - on Wednesday, by claiming that the elements had unsettled his team. To be fair, the former Dortmund boss was able to recognise the strangeness of his comments.

“I know the funny German talks about the wind, but it was an issue. I should not mention it. But for the first time in my life I saw a flat ball stop on the pitch. It was about staying concentrated.”

Wolves - managed by Paul Lambert - are currently a lowly 18th in the Championship and Klopp, while paying homage to their rear guard, is confident that Liverpool’s intensity, particularly at home, will see them through.

“Wolves are a pretty direct team. Long balls, aim for players up front. Our style forces the other team in a deep position. Again, a lot of work for us and not a lot of spaces. But we are used to it. But we play at Anfield, I think we will be dominant and we have to find the spaces.”

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