Klopp praises Firmino but wants more from his at­tack

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER - ANDY HUNTER

Jür­gen Klopp has said Roberto Firmino is “sharper and fit­ter” than he ex­pected for the start of the sea­son but wants a col­lec­tive im­prove­ment from Liver­pool’s at­tack against Brighton this even­ing.

Liver­pool have scored six goals with­out re­ply in their two Premier League wins – their most pro­lific start since 1994-95 – yet Klopp was unim­pressed with his team’s for­ward play at Crys­tal Palace on Mon­day. “The dif­fer­ence be­tween the West Ham and the Crys­tal Palace game was not only the op­po­nent but our tim­ing in our of­fen­sive sit­u­a­tions was not good,” he said. “We did not have the pass­ing op­tion we needed of­ten enough.”

Firmino was quiet by his stan­dards at Sel­hurst Park, where he suf­fered cramp late on in the 2-0 vic­tory, but hav­ing had only two weeks of pre-sea­son train­ing be­cause of his in­volve­ment in the World Cup in Rus­sia, the Brazil in­ter­na­tional has sur­prised Klopp with his con­tri­bu­tion.

The Liver­pool man­ager said: “I think he’s had a very good start. He had two weeks’ pre-sea­son, which is quite a short one for a player who needs his phys­i­cal fit­ness as much as Roberto does but I’m com­pletely happy.

“Af­ter two weeks’ prepa­ra­tion and a Brazil­ian hol­i­day he is much sharper and fit­ter than I would have ex­pected. He came back in a re­ally good shape. It’s as good as it can be but of course he is in­volved in all of our of­fen­sive sit­u­a­tions, even with open­ing the gap with a run or play­ing the pass or what­ever. It is all fine. It is ex­actly how it should be and he can im­prove like we can all im­prove.”

It bodes well that Firmino and Mo­hamed Salah have yet to hit their stride for a team level with Manch­ester City at the top of the Premier League.

The cham­pi­ons have also started con­vinc­ingly but Klopp in­sists City can­not be­come a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion for Liver­pool in a league that is harder to win than the Bun­desliga.

Klopp said: “Here you can give a few more points away and you have to be ready for all the games. I don’t want to com­pare it but if you could beat Bay­ern [with Borus­sia Dort­mund] it was good be­cause usu­ally they had won all their other games. That will not hap­pen here. Even City couldn’t do that last year. They got 100 points but that was a rare thing to do.

“Here we have more teams like this [Bay­ern] . If City are not num­ber one then there will be oth­ers go­ing for it. I re­ally think Tot­ten­ham will have a bril­liant sea­son. They are to­gether still and have a fan­tas­tic man­ager. A few other teams have a big chance too. Chelsea look re­ally pos­i­tive. Arse­nal; not a good start but that will change.

“Don’t look at the oth­ers, it doesn’t help you. You only have a prob­lem with them twice over the course of the sea­son. Just try to beat them in those two games and then beat the oth­ers as of­ten as pos­si­ble.” – Guardian

Roberto Firmino: “Much sharper and fit­ter” than his man­ager ex­pected

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