Klopp stays unfazed despite injury woes

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp getting friendly with Exeter City's mascot Grecian the Lion before the FA Cup third-round match at St James Park.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp getting friendly with Exeter City's mascot Grecian the Lion before the FA Cup third-round match at St James Park. PHOTO: REUTERS

Reds boss also declares his admiration for Wenger and looks forward to challenge him

LONDON • Juergen Klopp has said his experience in the Premier League has increased his admiration for Arsene Wenger and warned Liverpool will not beat Arsenal by matching their possession game at Anfield.

The Liverpool manager says his injury-hit side can defeat the Premier League leaders and will have "a solution" for today's match when, unlike during Friday's FA Cup tie at Exeter City , he will have a recognisable team available.

But Klopp says a plan based on Arsenal's style will be doomed to failure and Liverpool must focus on the traits that produced impressive wins at Chelsea and Manchester City prior to their recent inconsistent run.

"Arsenal and Arsene have their own style. It's possession football, so it's clear that, if we want to play the same way, we will be without a chance because they've been doing it for longer," Klopp said.

"Arsenal are not only a good possession team. That's the problem. They have good counter-attacks, too, and that's what you have to be aware of.

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"It's a job but it's a really nice job to think about solutions and how to stop them coming through with their plan. I like things like this.

"It is always a big challenge to play these clubs but, if we showed something in these last weeks, it is that we have something like a plan against good football teams."

Klopp said beating the league leaders was "not easy but it's possible" and that his appreciation of Wenger, who marks his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager this year, has grown since he arrived in the Premier League three months ago.

"It is an absolutely amazing achievement and my respect grows day by day because it's really intensive in the Premier League, especially with a team with international matches too," said the former Borussia Dortmund coach.

"My respect has grown since I'm here. He's done a brilliant job, one of the best managers in the world.

"It's rare to do this over such a long period. It's always a challenge to play against him and it is a challenge I'm looking forward to," he added.

Liverpool's injury problems have alleviated slightly ahead of Arsenal's visit although Divock Origi faces another month on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a knee problem.

Mamadou Sakho is pushing for a start alongside Kolo Toure in defence and the captain, Jordan Henderson, is also available.

Klopp had no established central defenders available against Exeter but may have the relative luxury of having three today.

Steven Caulker is eligible to face the Gunners after completing a loan move from Queen's Park Rangers yesterday. The 24-year-old will be at Anfield until the end of the season.

Toure is fit again having missed the trip to St James Park while recovering from cramp sustained in the League Cup semi-final win at Stoke City.

Sakho has not featured since aggravating a knee injury at West Ham United on Jan 2.

However, he is expected to return to fitness in time, easing Klopp's selection headache having had to select Tiago Ilori and Jose Enrique in the FA Cup.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2016, with the headline 'KLOPP STAYS UNFAZED DESPITE INJURY WOES'. Print Edition | Subscribe