Jurgen Klopp warned his Liverpool players that keeping “exceptional” Wolves winger Adama Traore quiet will be even more difficult than shutting out Jamie Vardy.
Premier League top scorer Vardy was largely anonymous as Liverpool won 4-0 at second-place Leicester City on Thursday to move 13 points clear at the summit with a game in hand on the Foxes.
However, the runaway leaders face a quick turnaround in fixtures as they are back in action on Sunday with a home match against Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves.
Klopp is expecting a tough test at Anfield and is particularly wary of the threat posed by versatile attacker Traore, who has starred on the right of a front three this term and scored twice in a win at Manchester City in October.
“Finally, Traore has a manager who has found a position for him,” Klopp told reporters ahead of the match. “He started as a wing-back and now he can play in the front three.
— Adama Traoré Diarra (@AdamaTrd37) December 23, 2019
“He is an exceptional player and was already exceptional as a kid when he played for Barcelona. He’s probably the quickest player in the league.
“It makes it really difficult to play against them, but it should be difficult for them, too. That’s the plan.
“This year they won against City. In the big space, Jamie Vardy is difficult to defend but I would say Traore is even more difficult to defend because the speed is exceptional.”
Traore has a combined six goals and assists in the top flight this season, compared to two in his maiden campaign at Molineux after joining from Middlesbrough in August 2018.
The 23-year-old was part of Barcelona’s famed academy and has previously been on Liverpool boss Klopp’s radar.
“Of course, everybody knew him,” Klopp said. “I think it was in Barcelona – I saw thousands of players, but as a kid he was at Barcelona, right?
Not a bad week, Bobby
1 Club World Cup medal pic.twitter.com/rRHATz2Ogu
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 27, 2019
“I saw him at Middlesbrough and he was exceptional but someone had to give him the right information, obviously, because that’s a big, big challenge.
“He’s still very young and now he has found it. Everybody was pretty sure that it will happen and now it happened. Good for Wolves. It makes them really dangerous.”
Liverpool boast an in-form attacker of their own, with Roberto Firmino making it four goals in three games with his brace at the King Power Stadium.
That follows a run of six games without scoring, but Klopp was never concerned about a lack of goals from the Brazil international.
“I think in the last three games he’s scored four goals and before that it was a little bit like he didn’t score that often,” Klopp said.
“Journalists told me Bobby Firmino didn’t score for a while and I didn’t even realise. When I think about Bobby I don’t think about scoring, I think about how important he is.
“So we had a bit of a talk and I told him because he looked, for the first time since I’ve known him, a little bit concerned about that fact.
“I told him that I’m not interested in that number because he’s the ‘connecter’ for our team. He’s so important for us. He’s not the only one who can play in the position but he can play the position in a very special way.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!