Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Liverpool expectations mean victory is always vital, claims Klopp

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Nov 2021

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Jurgen Klopp was adamant that his Liverpool team will not step off the gas when they face Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Liverpool host Porto in their fifth game of the Champions League campaign with top spot in Group B already secured.

The Reds have taken 12 points from 12 on offer so far, with a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid last time out guaranteeing their position as group winners.

Porto were hammered 5-1 in the reverse fixture, though a win at Anfield could see them through should Atleti lose to Milan.

Klopp suggested he will look to rotate his side as the fixture list begins to become even more hectic, though insisted that does not mean Liverpool – who trashed Arsenal 4-0 on Saturday – will change their full-throttle approach.

“When you sign a contract for Liverpool as a manager or player you pretty much have to win all the games,” he told a news conference.

“It means there’s a lot of pressure on their shoulders. We don’t have to win the game tomorrow but we want to win the game. I hope it gives us the freedom to play but have the desire to defend and all those kinds of things.

“In our Champions League history since I was here we always had to fight until the last second of the last game to get through the group, that’s the only difference but actually it’s not in my mind. I know it’s a difference, but we try to win the game.

“We know that our opponent will be motivated in the highest level, for two reasons, because we won there in the other game in a way they didn’t like and another is if they win they have a final against Atletico in the last match of the group, so that’s what they want.

“It will be a difficult game for us, I really hope everybody at Anfield is at their best, we always show up to win the game. We never take this thing for granted, I hope nobody is doing that, we need to put a proper fight together, I’m pretty confident we can do that.”

Liverpool also played in a Champions League dead rubber last season, with Klopp’s decision to field a strong team backfiring when Diogo Jota sustained a serious injury.

“It’s really easy to sit there and say leave him out, leave this player out,” Klopp hit back when asked if he regretted that decision.

“It’s very easy to sit in your chair, we have to line up a team to win the game and the Diogo situation was very unlucky and I hated it. Would I have done the same decision again? Yes.

“We need stability, we cannot play football games with one line up and then the next game change the team and then bring them back again, the players need rhythm, all these kinds of things.

“It’s not fair that you bring it up this old story that a player got injured. These things happen in football and hopefully nothing happens tomorrow.”

Jordan Henderson and Andrew Robertson are, according to Klopp, fit after returning from injuries, though he is unsure if either will play a part against Porto, who have never beaten Liverpool in nine competitive meetings.

One player set to feature is Takumi Minamino, who scored less than a minute after coming on from the bench against Arsenal.

Klopp said: “He played for Japan in the last few games because he’s in good shape, he’s in exceptional shape, we knew that.

“That’s why it’s important for us. He’s pretty much our first option for changing five positions, that says a lot, because he can play all the different positions and when he came on it was a wonderful moment, 40 seconds on the pitch and scoring a goal.

“You can see the confidence now and how good a player he is. He will get his minutes, definitely.”

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