Klopp bullish in advance of derby date
Liverpool boss denies his side are lacking creativity in midfield
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.”
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?”
Jürgen Klopp: “I don’t see any problems with midfield to be honest”