Klopp sticks to attacking guns

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp took exception to criticism of his tactics and substitutions last weekend when they drew 0-0 at Everton, and slipped behind Manchester City in the table.
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp took exception to criticism of his tactics and substitutions last weekend when they drew 0-0 at Everton, and slipped behind Manchester City in the table.PHOTO: AFP

Liverpool boss wants his team to play with more intensity and not be a 'little weak flower'

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has said Liverpool would resemble a "little weak flower" should they succumb to pressure and change the style which has put them in Premier League title contention this season.

The Liverpool manager took exception to criticism of his tactics and substitutions last weekend when they drew 0-0 at Everton, and slipped behind Manchester City in the table for the first time since Dec 7.

Klopp revisited the issue at a pre-match conference ahead of Burnley's visit to Anfield today, insisting he has not curbed the Reds' attacking nature in recent away matches and it would be a sign of weakness to do so with only nine matches left.

"We do go for it but that doesn't mean we throw 11 players in their box and hope we score," he said.

"That is not how it works. That is why I was a bit disappointed in the last press conference because we don't play PlayStation (football) and you all know that.

"That is a sign of being desperate... The way we did it brought us where we are and if someone thinks we should now be 10 points ahead of City, I can't help this person.

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"Let's do what we did that brought us here plus more intensity if possible, with a positive atmosphere around us, and not be this little weak flower. The target is to win the game, not to go nuts in the game."

Klopp's sparing use of winger Xherdan Shaqiri and, to a lesser extent, midfielder Naby Keita in recent weeks has prompted accusations of not taking sufficient risks.

Shaqiri had a major influence on Liverpool's 100 per cent win rate in December but has played only 210 minutes in the league this year. He was an unused substitute at Goodison Park last week.

Keita, meanwhile, has played only 82 minutes since the 3-0 win over Bournemouth early last month.

Klopp explained: "Shaq had a little injury and was out. There was something with his back and he needed a little time.

"We have to think about a lot of things before a game. We played quite a few teams with really good set pieces and we needed to make sure we had the right line-up and set-up. Naby is in a good moment and has trained well. That's it."

Striker Mohamed Salah, who won the top scorer's Golden Boot last season with 32 goals, is one goal shy of his 50th Premier League goal for Liverpool. He can equal Alan Shearer's record of scoring 50 goals for a single club faster than any other player (66 games).

Although Salah has not scored in his last four games in all competitions, Klopp is unconcerned about the Egyptian's goal drought.

"He has an unbelievable record, his goals brought us where we are," the German said.

"If you are a striker or an offensive player and you have chances in a game, you want to score with them. That is clear.

ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING

Let's do what we did that brought us here plus more intensity if possible, with a positive atmosphere around us, and not be this little weak flower.

JURGEN KLOPP , Liverpool manager, on his team resembling a "little weak flower" should they change their style

"But as a manager I am more than used to it that players do not score all the time, that's how it is."

Klopp also advised the club's supporters to get a good night's sleep to improve the atmosphere at Anfield for the early kick-off today.

"We need atmosphere at 12 o'clock," he said. "If you have a ticket, go to bed at 10pm latest, don't drink and be on your toes from the first to the last second.

"We have to be really good to beat this team, (Burnley manager Sean) Dyche is doing an amazing job."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 10, 2019, with the headline 'Klopp sticks to attacking guns'. Print Edition | Subscribe