KOPPED IT Slav calls for real Star turn

Liver­pool v Fulham Alexan­der-Arnold is pay­ing the price for a hec­tic sum­mer

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - Neil Mox­ley Last five meet­ings Over­all record

FULHAM boss Slav­isa Jokanovic is urg­ing his base­ment boys to take a leaf from Red Star Bel­grade when they face ti­tle-chas­ing Liver­pool this af­ter­noon.

The Ser­bian out­fit stunned Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League high-fly­ers in mid­week by beat­ing them 2-0 in the Cham­pi­ons League.

That was Red Star’s first-ever group vic­tory in the com­pe­ti­tion and, ac­cord­ing to Jokanovic, proves what his strug­glers can achieve at An­field

– no mat­ter the odds.

Jokanovic, who both played for and man­aged Red Star’s bit­ter ri­vals Par­ti­zan, said: “They de­served to win the game. What Red Star did was quite sen­sa­tional.

“They were se­ri­ously fight­ing all to­gether – and Liver­pool were sur­prised.

“They tried to change their game but found it too hard.

“The fight Red Star showed, the way they worked, is ex­actly what I want my team to show.

“It showed you never know what hap­pens in this game.

“Any­thing is pos­si­ble and any gap can be closed – by be­ing a team and fight­ing to­gether.”

Those in­gre­di­ents were sorely miss­ing in Fulham’s per­for­mance last Mon­day when they lost 1-0 at Hud­der­s­field.

But rather than rant and rave post-match, un­der-fire Jokanovic (be­low) re­vealed he gave his flops the silent treat­ment.

The ex-Watford coach, the book­ies’ favourite to be the first Premier League man­ager sacked, said: “I do not scream at play­ers af­ter­wards. I say ev­ery­thing I need to be­fore­hand and at half-time.

“Right now, we’re not be­ing very clever. We must be more solid and more ag­gres­sive.

“But I am not a scared man­ager. I’m not go­ing to let us sit in our box and wait for nil-nil be­cause that of­ten doesn’t work.”

HARRY PRATT

JURGEN KLOPP claims ‘ex­cep­tional’ full-back Trent Alexan­der-Arnold has be­come a vic­tim of his own ded­i­ca­tion to the Reds’ cause.

The de­fender only cel­e­brated his 20th birth­day last month and al­ready has ap­pear­ances in the Cham­pi­ons League Fi­nal and World Cup un­der his belt dur­ing a me­te­oric start to his pro­fes­sional ca­reer.

But his lev­els have dropped in re­cent weeks, re­sult­ing in his mid­week half-time sub­sti­tu­tion dur­ing the 2-0 de­feat to Red Star Bel­grade.

Alexan­der-Arnold only had two weeks’ holiday af­ter re­turn­ing from na­tional duty with the Three Lions in Rus­sia where he fea­tured in the group game against Bel­gium.

He was of­fered an ex­tra seven days by his Ger­man boss but chose to re­turn to pre-sea­son train­ing early and now may be pay­ing the price.

Klopp said: “Trent has played con­stantly. I have spo­ken to him about it – but not along the lines of, ‘This is good or that isn’t’. It’s more gen­eral ad­vice.

“He is still a very young boy. He had two weeks off in the sum­mer. That’s re­ally not a lot.

“We con­stantly try to keep an eye on him and fit­ness-wise what he needs to do with the group. Ac­tu­ally, he’s in a good place at the mo­ment.

“He has played a lot of foot­ball. He will play a lot of foot­ball – that’s the good news for him.

“It’s more im­por­tant he stays in­jury-free. What’s hap­pen­ing is fine and nor­mal.

“It won’t be the first time or the last time in his life that ev­ery­thing isn’t 100 per cent but he’s still an out­stand­ing player and re­ally im­por­tant to us.”

With the young­ster again called up to rep­re­sent his coun­try in the next fort­night, there are not too many op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Reds boss to rest the player.

In­volve­ment in the Cham­pi­ons League has only added to Alexan­derArnold’s work­load as Klopp (right) ad­mit­ted he was choos­ing from al­most a fully fit squad for the visit of the Cot­tagers this lunchtime.

He said: “Trent is im­por­tant to the way we play but we do have an op­tion to change it. It’s good for us if we have a good num­ber of play­ers to work with. “To be hon­est, I’ve been lucky. I’ve al­ways worked with good right-backs. I had too many at Mainz. I had Lukasz Piszczek at Dort­mund. He was fan­tas­tic.

“So for Trent to be per­form­ing as he is at his age is quite ex­cep­tional.” Klopp chose to sound a ral­ly­ing call on the eve of to­day’s match, urg­ing the sup­port­ers to, ‘Go to bed early’ and wake up ready for the ac­tion.

The un­beaten start to the league cam­paign has raised ex­pec­ta­tions but Klopp wanted to clar­ify his po­si­tion af­ter let­ting his mask slip when quizzed about play­ing non-stop champagne foot­ball. In the pre-match press con­fer­ence he said: “We win a game and af­ter­wards we have to apol­o­gise that we didn’t win it the City way.”

But he sought to clear up any con­fu­sion and added: “Last sea­son we were in the Cham­pi­ons League Fi­nal – we were the bet­ter team for 25 min­utes. Okay, we didn’t win it. There is space for im­prove­ment. In the Premier League to fin­ish one, two or three. “How can you im­prove? You im­prove your con­sis­tency. We dropped un­nec­es­sary points last sea­son.

“So far, we have 27 points. That’s an out­stand­ing num­ber but there is one team who has 29 and a goal dif­fer­ence of plus 47. If you win a game you end up apol­o­gis­ing for it. “I don’t want to make too much of it. We have had a good sit­u­a­tion. “We don’t want praise. I haven’t put any rock­ets up any­one this week. We have to en­joy our foot­ball and build upon it.” Feb 2014: Fulham 2 Liver­pool 3 Nov 2013: Liver­pool 4 Fulham 0 May 2013: Fulham 1 Liver­pool 3 Dec 2012: Liver­pool 4 Fulham 0 May 2012: Liver­pool 0 Fulham 1

Liver­pool – 39 wins Fulham – 12 wins Draws – 16

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