Klopp bullish in ad­vance of derby date

Liver­pool boss de­nies his side are lack­ing cre­ativ­ity in mid­field

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - Andy Hunter

Liver­pool v Ever­ton An­field, to­mor­row, 4.15pm Live onSky Sports Pre­mier League Jür­gen Klopp has is­sued a staunch de­fence of his Liver­pool mid­field and de­nied it is a weak link in a team that, he in­sists, de­liv­ers en­joy­able, cre­ative and win­ning foot­ball on a con­sis­tent ba­sis.

Liver­pool spent more than ¤100 mil­lion on Naby Keïta and Fabinho in the sum­mer but nei­ther mid­fielder has es­tab­lished him­self at An­field so far, while Jor­dan Hen­der­son, James Mil­ner and Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum strug­gled as a unit in the mid­week Cham­pi­ons League de­feat at Paris Saint-Ger­main.

Klopp main­tains it is merely a mat­ter of time be­fore Keïta and Fabinho prove their worth and, in a feisty press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, was un­happy with the post-PSG fo­cus on his ex­pe­ri­enced mid­field trio.

“I don’t see any prob­lems with mid­field, to be hon­est,” said the Liver­pool man­ager be­fore to­mor­row’s Mersey­side derby, when Hen­der­son will be sus­pended. “It is not the case, it is not the case.”

He con­ceded that mid­field sup­port to Liver­pool’s front line could im­prove “in spe­cific games” and at­tack­ing flu­ency would in­evitably suf­fer as a re­sult of work­ing on de­fend­ing as a team.

But he in­sisted a re­turn of 33 points from 13 Pre­mier League games, plus a run to last sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, would not have been pos­si­ble with a weak mid­field.

“When ev­ery­thing is bril­liant and we score goals, you al­ways ask about de­fend­ing and how can we fix that. We fixed that, kind of, and it al­ways hap­pens that the first step costs you a bit of flu­ency and cre­ativ­ity. That is com­pletely nor­mal. Bring­ing one player in would change ev­ery­thing? That is bull­shit and you know that. We have the play­ers for it. We have to win games.

“Re­ally, with all the things I saw in this coun­try foot­ball-wise, if peo­ple can­not en­joy our foot­ball then I can’t help them. We are cre­ative. Cre­at­ing is not a prob­lem. In the end, in the games we won we were al­ways the bet­ter side. That’s pretty rare.”

The Liver­pool man­ager claimed his team’s start, not his mid­field, was the prob­lem at PSG.. “PSG are one of the best teams in the world,” he added. “They didn’t look like it be­cause we caused them prob­lems. We had to chase the game, and it is not that easy then to be cre­ative.

“We had to fight back. It was not a bril­liant game but it was a big fight and we lost it 2-1. And after that you ask me about be­ing cre­ative in mid­field? We could have changed the game had we started dif­fer­ently. Then 2-0 wouldn’t have hap­pened and the pres­sure on them would have been even big­ger.”

Mersey­side derby

Marco Silva be­lieves the Mersey­side derby has “the power” to pro­pel Ever­ton’s de­vel­op­ment and his play­ers should not fear to­mor­row’s visit to Liver­pool.

Ever­ton have not won any of the past 17 der­bies, or in 20 visits to An­field in all com­pe­ti­tions, the long­est drought in the club’s his­tory.

Silva’s side, while im­prov­ing, have lost at Arse­nal and Manch­ester United this sea­son and the man­ager ad­mits a rare win at un­beaten Liver­pool would her­ald a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward.

“I agree about the power of this derby, it is a good word,” the Ever­ton man­ager said.

“Der­bies are al­ways spe­cial, spe­cial games and mo­ments for the city and the peo­ple. What I want in my squad and my play­ers is to fight for our goal. . . the power of one derby means you can see good things hap­pen after one re­sult.

“It could be very good for us. A good re­sult for us could boost our con­fi­dence to a high, high level. . “Play­ing with fear, train­ing with fear, is not some­thing you can do. How can you come with fear and with­out con­fi­dence to do your job?”

– Guardian

Jür­gen Klopp: “I don’t see any prob­lems with mid­field to be hon­est”

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