Thursday, May 23, 2024

Jurgen Klopp: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota give Liverpool ‘a chance’

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Apr 2024

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the return of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota gives their title hopes a much-needed boost.

Defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend saw Klopp’s side drop to third as Manchester City moved into a two-point lead at the top of the table.

But with results faltering, the performance by Alexander-Arnold in the Europa League win over Atalanta, particularly in the first half, has offered renewed hope.

The defender was making his first start since mid-February after a knee injury and, while Jota has yet to have the same impact in three relatively short substitute appearances after a similar two-month lay-off, the clinical nature of his game could offset some of the deficiencies currently being experienced by his fellow forwards.

“We need Trent Alexander-Arnold, of course, but we need him in a really good shape and form and that’s what he has to get up to,” said Klopp ahead of the trip to Fulham.

“It’s not about him and it’s not his fault if he wouldn’t be, it’s just the situation. So how quick can we get him rolling if you want – the same for Diogo.

“We have to find a way to help the boys in the best way, to bring them as quick as possible into their best form or shape and from there we have to go.

“Without them we wouldn’t have a chance. With them we have a chance, with them in a really good football moment the chance gets bigger and bigger.”

Klopp remains positive about their chances despite recent failures and feels six wins could see them snatch the title from the grasp of their rivals.

Although a Europa League exit on aggregate was disappointing there were positives to take from the game.

Alexander-Arnold’s display, drifting infield to dictate play and even popping up in the centre-forward’s position on occasions in Bergamo, was one and a first clean sheet in 10 matches was another.

With struggles up front continuing – Liverpool have scored only two goals in the opening 15 minutes in a league game this season – a more solid backline offers a better platform and that is why Klopp is optimistic.

“I don’t have a lot of qualities but I am always completely honest. If I don’t feel great the players feel it pretty quickly,” he said.

“I cannot really deny or just keep it under the carpet so that means after the game against Palace people ask ‘What do you tell the team now?’.

“But here we are a few days later and I feel absolutely great, I see the good in the situation where we are. It is fantastic.

“The boys know that I don’t tell them things which I don’t believe in and I am 100 percent sure we can really win all of the games we will have to from now on.

“What should influence us more: the last game, the last week or is it the chance in front of us?

“I am fully (of the opinion) that there is a next chance for us and we can turn things absolutely around in all departments. We can make it still an outstanding season.

“It will be a good season but of course how you look at it is in the end is massively influenced by the last part of it.”

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