Jürgen Klopp does not expect Liverpool’s Carabao Cup tie with Leicester City to have much bearing on Saturday’s Premier League meeting, but the boss has acknowledged the need for his side to learn to ‘stay positive in a game whatever happens’.
The Reds will return to the King Power Stadium just four days after losing 2-0 there in the third round of the League Cup - a game that saw both Klopp and his Foxes counterpart Craig Shakespeare rotate their teams.
A failure to make their first-half dominance show on the scoreboard cost Liverpool dearly, with Leicester scoring twice after the break to secure their place in the fourth round.
However, Klopp expects Saturday’s match to unfold differently due, primarily, to the expected changes in personnel on both sides.
“I think both teams will not think too much about this game because there will be different line-ups for sure, on both sides obviously,” the manager said at Thursday’s press conference.
“I think Leicester has a typical style of play. They couldn’t play like this [on Tuesday] because Jamie Vardy is a pretty key player for this kind of play and also Mahrez is a key player for this. Both were not involved so that means it was different, but we know of course how Leicester play usually.
“A lot of things will be the same and a few things will be different. It’s all about being really quick and after they win the ball they are really quick and pass it in behind. They go for set-pieces, Fuchs will be back probably so that means throw-ins are back in the game and all that stuff.
“So we know about it. We did well in games and we did not so good in games against these things.”
Despite the disappointment of ultimately being knocked out of the tournament, Klopp was satisfied with Liverpool’s display before the interval and urged his players to remain upbeat regardless of events within matches.
He continued: “I thought, and that’s the main thing, that we showed again good shape [on Tuesday]. Yes, we need to involve this kind of very useful aggression, we need to involve the greed, we need to involve the real fight for the result and even when we are 1-0 down.
“With that many changes you cannot always expect everything but of course 1-0 is not a result which closes the game - if we’re in a 1-0 lead it’s not the close and the other way around it’s the same. But after 1-0 the game changed for Leicester, that’s how it is.
“It’s not a big problem usually if you concede a goal if you go on playing like we did before, when we could also have scored, but in this moment it changed the game.
“We all have to fight for this - staying positive in a game whatever happens, that’s how it is.
“In the beginning it was so nice, how fluent we are, how creative we are and how we are still fluent and still creative but we don’t score, so it’s a big problem.
“For me, it’s important that I can help the players with staying really positive about this, plus changing the right things, plus including the right things. We are still in a good moment but of course it’s the Premier League again and we need results and that’s what we want to go for.”
Jürgen Klopp previewed the Premier League clash with Leicester City today – watch his press conference again in full and for free with us.
Liverpool return to King Power Stadium on Saturday evening, having been beaten by the Foxes in their Carabao Cup tie earlier this week.
Get Klopp’s thoughts on the upcoming match, the condition of his squad and the latest Reds news by viewing his media briefing via our official YouTube channel below.
Jürgen Klopp has explained how Liverpool are working to solve their issues around defending second balls in order to avoid the concession of unnecessary goals.
The Reds have been bitten by a failure to deal with knockdowns from lofted deliveries in their last two outings - a 1-1 home draw with Burnley and 2-0 defeat away to Leicester City.
The boss is understandably keen to eradicate this flaw from his team's game, and insists work is being done on a daily basis at Melwood to realise that aim.
But he accepts it may take time for Liverpool to become totally natural in repelling an aerial assault from their opponents.
"It’s concentration but it’s also a little bit of readiness in these moments," he told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to face Leicester - this time in the Premier League.
"So, the second ball situation, we have spoken about set-pieces since I’ve been here more or less. In different moments, we conceded a few goals with a first ball - cross-header, cross-volley, whatever - we solved this, so far.
"[We have] a much better formation, we use formation very well. That’s how it is, we cannot defend a set-piece with a header to the other half [of the pitch], a 50-yard header, so there will be an opportunity for a second ball.
"Fighting for these balls we need to do differently. What we have at the moment because of the situation is that everybody wants to help where the first ball is, you see this very often.
"We come too close together in the situation where the first ball is going after a throw-in. It means for the second ball we don't have a good formation but we really work on this.
"We see it in the game and, again, the step is in the wrong direction. Around these situations there is not the same confidence as there is [with] the ball, it looks much more natural.
"That’s the situation, each manager in football has another hole to fill. But, if you would ask me what would you prefer: Do you want your team perfect in defending set-pieces but don’t know how to play football, or would you prefer the other way round?' I still would take this one.
"We are on it, how you can imagine. But I cannot do it and say, 'Look at this, look at this, look at this!' In the moment, it feels like we solved it but in the situation you can see again we are back to old patterns or how we did it a few weeks before.
"We need to get more natural in these things because it's not that difficult to be honest but it happens too often, that’s how it is. Now we have to work - that's what we did already and that's what we do again. And then it will be even more difficult to create something against us."
Jürgen Klopp is confident Liverpool will be ready should centre-backs Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren both be ruled out of Saturday’s trip to Leicester City.
The duo will be assessed ahead of the trip to the King Power Stadium, with Lovren having missed the last two fixtures due to a back problem while Matip sustained a knock against Burnley last Saturday.
Nevertheless, Klopp is confident the Reds' preparations won't be negatively impacted upon by the doubts.
Asked how his side would set up if both were to be ruled out, the manager replied: “It would be the third game in a row for Ragnar if he plays again. Joe made a game in the centre-half position, so then we would have to see how we can manage it if it was to be like this. I don’t hope it is like this.
“Then Trent probably plays again at full-back and three days later again because Joe is suspended, stuff like this – it’s a normal day for a football manager.
“We will we have to see what we can do, but until I know it is not verified how it is exactly. I have to wait and we have to train with the boys if they can train today.
"Then we will prepare for the game and then we will see until Saturday, but there are still two days to go to see which players will be available.
“It is a normal challenge, it’s not that it’s worse or better than the other situations. It’s how it is. Players can get ill overnight and then you have to make another plan. That’s why we prepare pretty much everything when we know who we can use.”
Jürgen Klopp has explained why Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be afforded time to make his impact with Liverpool.
The England international was handed a first start for the Reds on Tuesday night but things did not go to plan, personally or collectively, as a 2-0 defeat was suffered against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup.
Klopp’s men return to King Power Stadium on Saturday for another meeting in the Premier League, and the manager was asked about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s full debut during his pre-match press conference.
“Ox had a few really good situations and a few unlucky situations,” he told reporters at Melwood.
“I thought he did really well in the moments when you could see that he tries to adapt to the style of play and all that stuff.
“He had a little problem with the calf, not an injury but a little problem. We all need to get used to this and manage it a little bit better.
“But it was his first game from the start, nothing else. After a game like this, that you lost and he didn’t make the best game in his life, people probably ask ‘Where is the impact he can make?’ But I’m not in doubt about this.”
Liverpool’s run of form makes for miserable reading as of late, with two losses and two draws in their last four fixtures. Jurgen Klopp will have hoped for an easy fixture to get back on track with the team’s current form being so poor, but Leicester away is far from that. Having already played them once this week, albeit with a weakened side, Liverpool have to once again travel to the King Power to hopefully return with a better result than the 2-0 defeat on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup.
A positive for Liverpool is that the team is likely to be much stronger than the side that travelled midweek, with numerous key players expected to return to the squad. So, I’ve highlighted what I believe to be the key battles in the fixture, and if Liverpool win these then they’re likely to come home with a result.Firmino vs Morgan
Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire will have a different type of challenge on their hands come Saturday, as Roberto Firmino operates differently to the conventional striker. Firmino plays effectively as a false nine for Liverpool, and often drops deeper than a traditional striker to receive the ball in the space between the opposition’s midfield and defence. With Leicester playing a 4-4-2, Firmino’s withdrawn movement should be even more dangerous than usual, as Leicester’s two banks of four will naturally leave horizontal space to exploit between the lines.
Now, when Firmino makes these deeper movements as pictured below, Morgan and Maguire will have to address an immediate problem. They can either retain their position and let Firmino drop deeper but he’ll then have time and space to make a pass, or they can stick tight to him but consequently leave a gap behind them in their defensive line.
Morgan and Maguire are both fairly aggressive defenders, so if they choose to constantly follow Firmino deep and stay tight to him, I’d expect Salah or one of Klopp’s midfield runners to be darting into the gap they’ve left as a result.
If Firmino can manipulate the positioning of Leicester’s centre-backs with his intelligent movement, Liverpool are certain to cause problems and have a number of chances on goal.Matip vs Vardy/Iheanacho
This is arguably the most obvious battle ahead of the match, with Leicester perhaps being the best side in the league at direct counter-attacking and exploiting a high defensive line. Liverpool push forward with numbers which regularly leaves them vulnerable defensively to a fast transitioning attack, which is ideal for Leicester. So, whether it’s Vardy, Iheanacho or both playing on the weekend, they’re going to be excited at the prospect of playing against Liverpool’s defence.
Thus, Joel Matip is likely to have an eventful match, as his right-back and centre-back seem to be regularly changing. Matip will play alongside Lovren or Klavan, both of whom seem capable of making unforced mistakes that consequently put Liverpool on the back foot. Against Leicester, these mistakes cannot be afforded and maximum concentration will be needed throughout the match, as one long ball from anywhere on the pitch has the ability to create a clear-cut chance against this Liverpool side, and Leicester will no doubt test that. An example of this is demonstrated in the screenshot below, which was taken seconds before Vardy scored against Liverpool a few meetings ago. Although Matip isn’t playing here, this is exactly the type of situation that Vardy will want to find himself in, so Klopp has to ensure that doesn’t happen.
With Lovren or Klavan likely to struggle based on recent form, Matip will have to do a lot of the defensive sweeping up and assume responsibility, and his performance will certainly have to be better than at Anfield against Burnley. Hypothetically, Liverpool’s high line combined with Matip’s lack of pace should be a bloodbath when playing against a fast and aggressive striker such Jamie Vardy, but hopefully Liverpool’s concentration and adaptation will prevail.Salah vs Chilwell
This is an interesting one for Liverpool fans, especially since the club targeted Leicester’s Chilwell in the transfer market a few years ago. So far this season, Salah has been Liverpool’s main goal threat, as defences have struggled to cope with his poaching nature and direct movement into goal-scoring positions. With Christian Fuchs being out, Chilwell has fared quite well for Leicester so far, but the 20 year-old will have to be at his very best to deal with Liverpool’s attacking wide poacher.
Salah will look to drift throughout the 90 minutes, often into the channel between Chilwell and his nearest centre-back, Harry Maguire. For Chilwell to be able to manage Salah’s movement, he’ll have to remain concentrated for the entirety of the game. Any lapse in concentration from Chilwell may result in a goal-scoring chance for Salah which he’s likely to score, as we saw against Burnley at Anfield.
Also, in relation to Firmino’s key battle, Salah will have to remain alert and be on his toes to take advantage of any space that Firmino is able to create for him to attack. Leicester are no doubt going to play with a deep defensive block against Liverpool, so the space that Salah loves to feed on is likely to be scarce.
Liverpool crashed out of the League Cup with a 2-0 defeat against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. The Reds dominated large parts of the game, but their wastefulness in front of goal was punished. Islam Slimani’s sensational second goal to add to Shinji Okazaki’s opener was enough for the Foxes to progress to the 4th round.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke made their first competitive starts for the Reds, in a disappointing outing at a stadium where Jurgen Klopp has tasted defeat for the third time in succession.
Here are the major talking points from the game:Profligate, wasteful
You can insert all the synonyms to those words here, and only that would best describe this Liverpool performance. Solanke, Philippe Coutinho, Andy Robertson, all had good chances to score in the first half, but the opportunities all went begging. Liverpool should have gone into the half-time break out of the hosts’ sight, but instead, it was goalless.Andy Robertson can cross a ball
And that is an understatement! It was a pity that there was no meaningful touch on the end of the many crosses that went in from the left-back in the first half. In the second half, maybe it was due to the absence of Coutinho, but Robertson never found as much space to work in, as he did before the break.Forget the defence – the midfield needs a real fix
Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are starting midfielders for the club, and they just did not throw their weight behind the side. Wijnaldum, as is the norm in away games, was virtually invisible and Henderson was poor as well. The skipper’s passing is a growing concern, as below-par performances have been the order of the season so far for him.Danny Ward must be given more chances
Now that the League Cup campaign is over, Jurgen Klopp must find a way to strike a balance between his three goalkeepers so that they are given their opportunities. Ward’s performance was encouraging, despite the two goals that Liverpool conceded. He looked confident and his reaction to set-pieces looked very assured.Mentality
The recurring theme of the last week has been this side’s mentality. The capitulation at Manchester City was followed by an indifferent second half against Sevilla, and again, an indifferent half tonight. Whether it is the intensity not being replicated or that the heads drop after conceding, I don’t know, but both are equally concerning.Should we be so bothered about a loss in the League Cup?
Maybe not, but given the current scenario, Liverpool needed this win to lift the confidence of the players and the entire mood around the club. This loss means that we’ve blown an opportunity to get silverware, and it makes the league game at Leicester on Saturday and the Champions League game in Moscow all the more crucial.Welcome back Danny Ings
There was no real impact on the game from Ings, apart from one sight of goal that he had. But it is nice to have the striker back playing first-team football after two absolutely horrendous years for him. Hopefully, the Gods will now be kinder and he can get a run of games under his belt.
Liverpool will need to check on the fitness of Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Emre Can ahead of the Premier League clash with Leicester City on Saturday.
Jürgen Klopp confirmed on Thursday the trio are carrying knocks and will need to be assessed before the return to the King Power Stadium.
Lovren has missed the Reds’ last two outings due to a back issue, while Matip and Can sustained knocks against Burnley last weekend.
Klopp told his pre-match press conference: “It’s nothing major with Dejan but it was enough to keep him out of two games and he is not in training so far, so that means he is also a doubt for the weekend, which is not too cool.
“It’s the same with, but completely different [injuries], Joel Matip and Emre Can. They have little bits from the last game so we have to see if they can be back in training today or tomorrow, but it’s not sure at the moment.”
Liverpool Football Club would like to say ‘Shana Tova’ to all of our supporters celebrating Rosh Hashanah.
This October, a new official club book, Liverpool FC 125: The Alternative History, will be released to commemorate the club’s 125th birthday.
Inside, you’ll discover a celebration of the Reds like no other, featuring 125 varied things that made Liverpool FC the successful, iconic, fabled football club that is loved by millions around the globe – but told in a completely different way to bring to life the unique story of one of the game’s most famous teams.
Every person who pre-orders a copy by October 1, 2017 will have the opportunity to see their name, or a name of their choice, included on a special scroll of honour inside the pages of the publication itself.
Please note, you are responsible for the spelling of your chosen name.