Not every Liverpool player will play every game in title run-in, explains Jurgen Klopp

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Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson apparently haven't seen eye-to-eye in recent weeks.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists every player – including captain Jordan Henderson – has to accept they cannot play every match in the Premier League run-in.

The Reds boss was forced to play down claims of a fall-out after the pair did not shake hands, a misunderstanding according to Klopp, when the England midfielder was substituted in the goalless draw at Manchester United. Henderson started the midweek win over Watford on the bench.

Sunday’s Merseyside derby at Goodison Park is a match all the players want to be involved in and as the title race ticks down each game will become more important.

However, Klopp said whether players were happy or not they had to fall into line.

“They accept it. I don’t think they are happy,” he said.

“Hendo played a lot of games this season then for a while had had an injury here and there. Milly (James Milner) had the same, Gini (Wijnaldum) had them, Naby (Keita), they all had their problems.

“The most important thing is how it will fit for the next opponent? That’s the first thing I think about.

“Then if more things than one could fit, then you start thinking about who may need a rest or whatever, or who is a little bit better in this, or this.

“Hendo has played a really good season. I told him. He looked like he was not happy (at Old Trafford), but (he was) completely OK.

“I don’t tell players before the game that they will not play. I don’t walk through the dressing room and say ‘You don’t play, you don’t play’.

“You see that on the training ground, and as a player of Liverpool you know that you don’t play all the games. It’s a normal situation.

“But because of the stories after the United game, after my reaction, I thought it made sense to tell [Jordan] it has nothing to do with that, because it was nothing. That’s it.”

Local tensions will be more of an issue on Sunday as Liverpool head to Goodison Park with memories of their added-time victory over Everton at Anfield in December still relatively fresh in the mind.

It was memorable for Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s error, Divock Origi’s goal and Klopp’s 40-yard run onto the pitch to celebrate with goalkeeper Alisson Becker which earned the Reds boss an £8,000 fine.

Klopp insists there will be no repeat performance at the weekend.

“We all know my celebration. I will not do it again, but what happened that day was very surprising,” he added.

“(Everyone thought) the ball was out, Virg (Virgil Van Dijk) already turned (away) after his wonderful volley, but Div stayed awake and scored that goal.

“It was a very special moment, but it’s not the time, two days before the game, to say we want something like that again.”

The defeat sent Everton’s results into a downward spiral to the extent there is a 33-point gap between them and their neighbours.

Everton fans would love nothing more than to put a huge dent in Liverpool’s title aspirations.

“Of course the fans of Everton don’t want us to win anything, and our fans are the same with them. It’s only very emotional, very passionate and for me that’s how football should be,” said Klopp.

“I am not sure if it is possible to be more motivated than they were and we were that day! Of course the game was special.

“We know it will be really tough. At Goodison they really support their team, so now let’s go there and use that atmosphere.

“It will be loud, it will be wild, it will be everything, and we have to deliver that on the pitch as well.”

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Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool answered their critics with an impressive performance

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Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not understand some of the scrutiny his team have come under in recent weeks, but he was more than happy to answer their critics in resounding fashion.

After four draws in five matches the Reds found their form in stunning style with a 5-0 victory at home to Watford – their biggest win since beating the same opponents by the same scoreline last March.

It came at the ideal time as questions were being asked about whether Liverpool, particularly their all-star forward line, were running out of gas in the title race.

Both two goals apiece from Sadio Mane and Vigil van Dijk either side of Divock Origi’s strike banished any talk of a crisis of creativity.

“Tomorrow is another day: we have to deal with all the other things but that was fantastic football game and I’m really happy for the boys because they deserve it so much,” said Klopp.

“We draw against Bayern and against (Manchester) United and everybody talks about, I don’t know exactly what they are talking about, but things I don’t understand.

“It’s always about showing reactions but not reactions of the things we are talking about.

“We wanted to play like this every day. That is maybe sometimes possible, sometimes a bit less but you have to be stable and the boys were always stable and really fluent offensively.

Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane

“It is a good example of how football should look. Let’s try to do it again and again.”

The victory ensured Liverpool kept a point ahead of Manchester City heading into the final 10 Premier League matches of the season while also cutting their rivals’ superior goal difference down to six.

But Klopp maintained his mantra of focusing on his own side and not concerning himself with what Pep Guardiola’s team are doing.

“I don’t think you need an answer from me,” he said when asked about the title race.

“We only need to play football and to win games then we will see what happens.

“It’s not like I go in the dressing room and someone tells me the (City) result and I get a heart attack.

“It’s a normal thing. If you are top of the table, it’s pretty likely that all the contenders win. That’s how it is.

“That’s the only advantage you have when you are fighting to stay in the lead because the other teams lose a bit more often than our fight.

“I didn’t think about City but it is of course what I expected.”

The manner of Watford’s defeat was surprising as they came into the came inn decent form with six victories and four draws in their last 11 matches.

Manager Javi Gracia, however, tried to see past their Anfield mauling.

“The only thing I can say about my players is that I have big confidence in them,” he said.

“We are keeping a good level in all our performances. We knew it would be tough but we will look to the next game.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Liverpool can handle the pressure says Jurgen Klopp as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer learns about Man United players

Carl Markham 25/02/2019
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Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is comfortable with the way his players are handling the pressure of a title race.

A goalless draw at Old Trafford, their third stalemate in four Premier League matches, was enough to take them back to the top of the table, one point ahead of Manchester City.

Many critics viewed the match against United as two points dropped after the hosts were forced into three first-half substitutions.

But Klopp remains calm about his side’s situation as they head into another big week which ends with the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

“Yes, of course there is pressure. Actually, from my point of view, it is a very positive pressure, but I don’t have to play – I only sit here and say dumb things, so that’s easy,” said the German.

“We all have to learn in these situations, the only way we can do it is with passion. This club, the heart and soul of this club, is passion.

“On Wednesday night we have another chance (at home to Watford) and then there’s the derby, which is always a very emotional game so, again, passion.

“I get there has been a few too many draws in the last couple of games but, still, we are where we are so let’s go on.

“People can say ‘Man City are doing better’ but we don’t compare ourselves with that because we have to get the points our own way.

“There are different ways to be successful and so far we were successful. That’s 100 per cent true.

“We know where we are coming from and we know where we are – now let’s make sure we use the situation as good as possible and then we will see it ends for us.”

United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was also satisfied with a point after losing Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and his replacement Jesse Lingard all to hamstring problems in the first half, having seen Nemanja Matic injured in training before the match.

“I learned a lot about the players: Scott McTominay was a ‘Darren Fletcher’ for us, absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“Andreas (Pereira) has had criticism lately but he’s had to come on and I thought he did fantastic so I learned a lot about the character of the team.

“I was very impressed by my team: the attitude, the character we showed in adversity because everything that could’ve gone wrong in the first half went wrong.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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