EPL

Klopp vows Kop empire will 'strike back' ahead of crunch Wolves and Man Utd games

By Sports Desk February 28, 2023

Jurgen Klopp has told his Liverpool stars to "squeeze everything" they can out of this season as they head into a rematch with the Wolves team who left them at their lowest ebb.

A 3-0 thumping at Molineux on February 4 followed a month that contained two defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and a loss at Brentford, with Liverpool leaving the West Midlands in a state of disarray.

Results have picked up since from that low point, with Liverpool beating Everton and Newcastle United in the Premier League and drawing at Crystal Palace. They have kept three successive clean sheets for the first time in the domestic league, but the elephant in the room is the 5-2 stuffing Liverpool suffered at the hands of Real Madrid amid that improvement.

As it stands, Liverpool are up to seventh in the league, still in the hunt for a Champions League place with 45 points up for grabs before the season ends, and manager Klopp says this is "a super-important week".

With Wolves their visitors on Wednesday, and Manchester United coming to Anfield on Sunday, the chance is there for Liverpool to take big strides towards the top four.

Considering Liverpool came from mid-table to snatch fourth in the 2020-21 season, after winning eight of their last 10 games, Klopp knows it can be done.

"It helps because it was us and I don't have to tell them the story from another team," Klopp said on Tuesday. "History is not allowed to hinder you, but you cannot constantly rely on doing it again, so we have to make sure.

"I really see we have the right mindset, and we are ready to go, but now we have to do it as well because a game is different. You have an opponent who wants the points as well. We have to create, we have to attack, we have to defend, we have to protect. I know the boys can do that, so let's give it a try.

"We have to force it as well, but we have to play and enjoy what we are doing, that's really important. I really think we are ready. If there's a club that can do it, I really think it's us, because all the things we've achieved, we've achieved together.

"We have a future together. The immediate future, but there's a bigger picture as well. We will strike back in general, but now we have to make sure we really squeeze everything out of this season that we can squeeze out of this season.

"I don't know in this moment what it will be, but the obvious spots are not too far away from us, and we will see which one we can pick up, but there's no alternative to results, so we need results and for results we need performances."

Liverpool have won 18 of their last 20 home league games against Wolves, with the exceptions being 1-0 defeats in January 1984 and December 2010.

Klopp's Reds also beat Wolves after a replay in the FA Cup in January, so victory over the men in black and gold is not an alien concept, despite the recent woeful league result. Klopp labelled that 3-0 loss as "not a cool day" and urged Liverpool to take advantage of being at home this time.

Wolves will be looking to complete a league double over Liverpool for the first time since the 1950-51 season, and they need the points too, given they hover just above the relegation zone.

"It's a super-important week," Klopp said. "We can't ignore that and why would I? We have two home games.

"I would love to give the season a little push this week. I know we all understand, so we have to give a proper, proper, proper go against a team we played more often than any other team this season.

"We know a lot about each other. We know it will not be easy, so we have to make sure we are ready. I know Anfield will be, and we have to do our part."

Related items

  • Mbappe called out by French far-right leader after Euro 2024 comments Mbappe called out by French far-right leader after Euro 2024 comments

    French political leader Jordan Bardella criticised Kylian Mbappe for speaking out against the "extremes" in parliamentary elections before their game against Austria at Euro 2024.

    Striker Marcus Thuram made his position clear on the party, having urged people to "fight daily" to prevent Bardella's National Rally (RN) from gaining power in France, with a general election set to take place in July.

    Mbappe then later used his pre-match press conference to say he supported the same values as Thuram, though he did not call out the RN by name.

    "Kylian Mbappe is against extreme views and against ideas that divide people. I want to be proud to represent France, I don't want to represent a country that doesn't correspond to my values or our values," Mbappe said.

    He also added that "the extremes are knocking at the doors of power".

    Mbappe was immediately criticised for speaking up about the political picture in France, with Bardella left angered by his comments.

    "I have a lot of respect for our footballers, whether Marcus Thuram or Kylian Mbappe, who are icons of football and icons for youth," Bardella told CNews TV.

    "But we must respect the French, we must respect everyone's vote.

    "When you're lucky enough to have a very, very big salary, when you are a multi-millionaire, then I'm a little embarrassed to see these athletes.

    "Give lessons to people who can no longer make ends meet, who no longer feel safe, who do not have the chance to live in neighbourhoods overprotected by security agents."

    Mbappe, meanwhile, has other concerns, with reports suggesting the superstar will definitely miss France's game against the Netherlands on Friday after he suffered a broken nose in the 1-0 win over Austria.

  • Sporting Kansas City v Real Salt Lake: Mastroeni confident visitors can maintain road streak Sporting Kansas City v Real Salt Lake: Mastroeni confident visitors can maintain road streak

    Pablo Mastroeni is pleased with the strides Real Salt Lake have made on the road this season and is hopeful they can cause more problems at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.

    RSL sit top of the Western Conference, one point clear of LAFC, with a 0-0 draw away at CF Montreal at the weekend extending their unbeaten streak.

    They have not lost any of their last 14 matches in the MLS and are unbeaten in their last nine on the road.

    Mastroeni has been impressed with his team's progress, particularly their performances on the road.

    "I'm really pleased with the mindset, and I feel like as a group we're starting to really understand moments and really control games as to the way we want to play," said Mastroeni.

    "Going to any stadium away from home, it's very difficult to [get wins] but I feel we've made great strides in that direction over the course of the season.

    "It's taken us 18 games to get to a point where we feel like we can go on the road and really dictate large portions of the games. I feel like we're getting really brave with our performances and I'm pleased with the progress we're making."

    Meanwhile, Sporting KC sit 13th and are seven points behind the playoff places having won just one of their last 12 matches in the league.

    After a 4-2 defeat to LA Galaxy at the weekend, head coach Peter Vermes has admitted he may need to bring in reinforcements in the upcoming transfer window.

    "Over the next two to three windows we're going to have to be very active," Vermes said. "If it happens? I can't tell you if it does or not. We need players on all three lines, for sure."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell

    Russell has scored seven goals in 15 career matches against Real Salt Lake in all competitions. He has only scored more goals against Houston Dynamo (eight) since he joined Sporting in 2018.

    Real Salt Lake – Cristian Arango

    Real Salt Lake are on a nine-match unbeaten run on the road in the MLS, though they were held to a 0-0 draw against Montreal last weekend. Arango was their biggest threat in that game, having six shots, though he could not find a breakthrough.

    MATCH PREDICTION: REAL SALT LAKE WIN

    Real Salt Lake defeated Sporting Kansas City at home, 1-0, in May 4 in the first meeting between the sides this season. RSL have won five of their eight matches against Sporting (D1 L2, incl. playoffs) since the beginning of the 2021 season.

    Real Salt Lake extended their regular-season unbeaten run to 14 games (W8 D6) with a scoreless draw at Montreal on Saturday, equaling the longest single-season run in club history (July-October 2010).

    Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City's 4-2 defeat to the Galaxy on Saturday was their eighth defeat in their last nine regular-season matches. Sporting have not lost nine times in a span of 10 regular-season matches in the post-shootout era (since 2000).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Sporting Kansas City – 32.2%

    Draw – 25.4%

    Real Salt Lake – 42.4%

  • Premier League opening weekend: Who has the toughest start? Premier League opening weekend: Who has the toughest start?

    The Premier League fixtures were announced on Tuesday, with the new season now just under two months away.

    Holders Manchester City, chasing a fifth consecutive Premier League title, have a tough opener against Chelsea, now managed by Enzo Maresca, at Stamford Bridge on August 18.

    City have won their opening fixture in 12 of the last 13 seasons, though the only exception was a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham in 2021-22.

    Meanwhile, Chelsea will begin a top-flight season against the reigning champions for the first time in 53 years, losing to Arsenal in their last such fixture in 1971 (3-0).

    Manchester United and Fulham will kick off the season at Old Trafford on August 16, with the Red Devils becoming the first Premier League side in history to start eight consecutive seasons on home soil.

    Brentford and West Ham are tipped to have the toughest starts, with their opponents' average rating at 89.6 on Opta's team rating scale – both sides face Pep Guardiola's side in their opening five matches.

    Arsenal and Ipswich Town sit joint-third behind them, with their first five fixtures averaging at 88.7.

    After narrowly missing out to City in the title race in the last two seasons, Arsenal begin their campaign at home to Wolves but face tricky tests against Aston Villa, Tottenham and the Citizens in the following weeks.

    Ipswich begin their first Premier League campaign for 22 years against the side they ended their last one against. They will travel to Anfield for Arne Slot's first match in charge of Liverpool, before hosting the reigning champions a week later.

    The Reds show as having the easiest opening of the 20 sides, with an average opponent rating of 83.7, with a trip to Old Trafford against rivals United the most notable match in their first five fixtures.

    Southampton's return to the top-flight comes at St. James' Park, but among teams to have played in 10 or more Premier League seasons, the Saints have the lowest win ratio (8 per cent), having won just two of their 24 games (D10 L12).

    Everton will kick off their final season at Goodison Park at home against Brighton – the Toffees have started the last two campaigns with defeats on home soil against Chelsea and Fulham, and have not lost three in a row since a run of four between 2008-09 and 2011-12.

    The opening weekend will be rounded off by Tottenham's trip to the other promoted side, Leicester City, who will be hoping to continue their unbeaten run when starting a league campaign at home (they have won six and drawn three of the previous nine).

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.