Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Klopp tells Liverpool to ´keep going´ after Spurs draw hits Reds´ title hopes

SoccerNews in English Premier League 7 May 2022

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Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool would keep fighting for the Premier League trophy after a 1-1 draw with Tottenham dealt their title hopes a huge blow.

It could have been worse for Klopp’s team, who fell behind to a close-range strike from Son Heung-min but kept going and snatched a draw thanks to Luis Diaz’s deflected shot.

Liverpool had 22 shots to Tottenham’s eight, but only three of those efforts from the Reds hit the target, with 13 blocked as Tottenham produced a doughty defensive effort.

The point took Liverpool top of the table, ahead of Manchester City on goal difference, but their title rivals have a game in hand and that comes on Sunday when Pep Guardiola’s men face Newcastle United.

Klopp told BT Sport: “I’m really happy with the performance and proud of the mentality we showed against an incredibly good opponent with a game plan.

“I said before the game we have to win. I thought we had a few things today that were on a different level. The counter-press was absolutely outstanding.

“They scored a goal, and we had to keep our calm and increase the pressure. That’s a massive challenge, but we did, and we scored an equaliser. It was not the result we wanted, but it was the performance I wanted, so from that point of view I’m fine.”

Klopp even suggested Liverpool had it in their thoughts that they might score a goal such as the one Diaz came up with.

“We said before the game that the box would be full, so we need to give the deflection a chance,” Klopp said.

His team were in midweek Champions League action, battling past Villarreal to reach the Champions League final on Tuesday night in Spain, keeping hopes of a quadruple alive.

That four-trophy bid has taken a knock, and a 12-game winning streak in the league at Anfield has been halted, but Klopp is not giving up on the dream outcome.

He said: “It’s incredibly difficult to play against an opponent with world-class players and a world-class manager, and they have a full week to prepare, and we play every three days. But I’m really fine with the performance, and we will keep going.

“The dressing room is not flying at this moment, but come on, it was always clear something like this could happen. It’s not that we need now tomorrow a defeat of City against Newcastle. There are other games to play, and we just have to keep going.”

Neither side could be particularly happy with the final outcome, given three points for Tottenham would have lifted them to fourth, above north London rivals Arsenal who they will face on Thursday. Liverpool are back in action against Aston Villa on Tuesday.

Son said Tottenham delivered a “really good” display and described the reward as “a big point”, albeit saying he was “gutted” Tottenham did not take advantage of a late chance when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was unable to find Harry Kane.

South Korean forward Son is Tottenham’s leading scorer this term and took his Premier League tally for the campaign to 20, making him just the second Tottenham player to hit 20 or more goals in a season without having a penalty among the haul, after Gareth Bale in 2012-13 (21 goals).

Son has scored (12) and been involved in (17) more Premier League goals than any other player in 2022.

“It was a good team play and very proud, but it should be more,” Son said. “The point is always good at Anfield, it’s a really, really difficult place, but hard work has paid off.”

Tottenham are itching to be involved in the Champions League next season, and whether they reach that objective may yet affect the future of key personnel.

“I want to play Champions League next season, this is clear in our minds,” Son said, “so I think it was a big, big point.”

Next comes the Arsenal derby, and Son said: “It’s a big game like today, but we are playing at home, so we should take advantage. We need to prepare for four days and go for it, give everything we have and see what happens.”

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