EPL

Jurgen Klopp praises academy stars for leading Liverpool through tough January

By Sports Desk January 31, 2024

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says it is a credit to their academy players that his side have emerged unscathed from a difficult January to lead the Premier League by five points.

The 4-1 victory over Chelsea was the Reds’ sixth win in seven matches in the month, with the other a draw in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Fulham having gone into the game with a lead from the home tie.

During that period the side have been without three senior full-backs, as well as the likes of midfielders Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister at varying times and, of course, Mohamed Salah.

Deputy right-back Conor Bradley has impressed hugely and put in his second successive man-of-the-match display with his first Liverpool goal and two assists in the victory.

But with Trent Alexander-Arnold close to full match fitness after two substitute appearances, it has given Klopp a decision to make ahead of Sunday’s trip to Arsenal.

“There is no situation. It is just how it is,” said Klopp.

“We had seven games in January with 11 days off in between. We couldn’t have put the string of results together without the kids, (Jarell) Quansah, Conor and we had midfielders out so we played with James McConnell at six.

“These boys used this situation. I am happy they all could perform the way they did. The academy is doing an incredible job.”

Striker Darwin Nunez had one of those games where he did everything but score, becoming the first player since Opta records began in 2003 to hit the woodwork four times, once from the penalty spot.

It was at the extreme end of what has become a frequent trademark from the Uruguay international, who set up the fourth goal for Luis Diaz, but Klopp is not concerned.

“Insane first half, unbelievable. Outstanding. Why do we speak about Darwin? Obviously because he has so many situations where he missed,” he added.

“The first time since we count a player hits the woodwork four times in a game. Think you are in his boots and how that feels. Missing a penalty you could see at half-time he was really upset with himself.

“It’s just crazy that he creates that many. Imagine for a second he would take them all. The numbers would be absolutely insane, to an extent where we wouldn’t understand it any more so it’s normal.

“For us, it’s unimportant. We scored four goals, who cares if we could have scored a fifth or sixth?”

It would not have flattered Liverpool to have added two or three more such was their dominance over opponents who they will meet again in the Carabao Cup final in a month’s time.

Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino admitted his side were second best and even penalty shouts in the first and second halves would not have done much to alter the direction of travel.

“I think it is not to find excuses. The performance was not good enough from us. They deserved to win, they were better than us,” he said.

“We didn’t perform in the way we wanted to. In this type of game you need to say ‘well done Liverpool’.

“In the final (next month) we need to compete in a different way. If we compete the same way as today for sure it is going to be the same result.

“For us it is about learning. We are competing against a team that is on the top and is consistent to always be challenging for the big trophies.”

Related items

  • Los Angeles FC 6-2 San Jose Earthquakes: Cherundolo's side move to Western Conference summit Los Angeles FC 6-2 San Jose Earthquakes: Cherundolo's side move to Western Conference summit

    Los Angeles FC moved to the Western Conference summit with a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.at BMO Stadium.

    Mateusz Bogusz struck twice, while Denis Bouanga, Kei Kamara, Ryan Hollingshead and Tomas Angel were also on target as LAFC returned to winning ways in MLS.

    Steve Cherundolo's side saw their eight-match winning streak end at Austin in midweek, but they took the lead through Bogusz after a quarter of an hour.

    Bouanga doubled the lead with his 13th goal of the season, while Kamara headed in a Bogusz cross before Hollingshead's deflected strike made it 4-0 before half-time.

    Rodrigues replied for bottom side San Jose in first-half stoppage time, before Benjamin Kikanovic reduced the arrears in the 57th minute.

    However, LAFC had the final word with Angel striking three minutes from time to send them top of the Western Conference - ahead of Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy by virtue of winning one more game.

    Data Debrief: Kamara passes Donovan

    Kamara's header gave him his 146th regular-season goal in MLS, moving him past Landon Donovan and into second place on the all-time list.

    The 39-year-old is now 25 goals behind Chris Wondolowski's record, while LAFC extended their franchise-record unbeaten streak to 10 matches.

  • Alvarez injury sours Mexico's 1-0 win over Jamaica's Reggae Boyz in Copa America opener Alvarez injury sours Mexico's 1-0 win over Jamaica's Reggae Boyz in Copa America opener

    Mexico kickstarted their Copa America campaign with a 1-0 victory over Jamaica at the NRG Stadium, but were left sweating on the fitness of captain Edson Alvarez. 

    The West Ham midfielder, who made his 80th appearance for his nation in Texas, was forced off after 30 minutes and was seen visibly upset as he left the pitch. 

    Alvarez's club team-mate Michail Antonio thought he had scored Jamaica's first-ever Copa America goal five minutes into the second half, only to see his header ruled out by VAR. 

    However, Mexico recovered from that earlier scare, forcing a string of saves from Jahmali Waite before Gerardo Arteaga finally broke the deadlock with a fine finish. 

    The result moved El Tricolor level on three points with Venezuela, who beat Ecuador 2-1 in the other Group B clash earlier in the day, but attention quickly turned to the fitness of their captain at full-time. 

    “We’re going to wait a couple of days to do some testing on him and to know well what he’s got going on,” head coach Jaime Lozano said after the match.

    “He’s extremely important. He’s a leader, he understands the game well. He’s important on the pitch and in the locker room as well.

    “You listen to him talk, he has a way with words and when he speaks you listen. This was a tough blow for all of us.”

    Defender Cesar Montes told reporters: "It was extremely important to start on the right foot, always focussed, together, and (now) the only bad news is that our team-mate suffered an injury that we hope is not serious and can return with us.

    "(But) these situations are not simple, the doctor will have to evaluate to see if he can continue with us (for the rest of the tournament). For the group he is the leader, a very important piece and it will be good to know his diagnosis in view of what is coming."

    Jamaica play Ecuador in Las Vegas on Wednesday, while Mexico face Venezuela in California next Thursday. 
     

  • Euro 2024 social round-up: Scotland take in the views, Pepe hits top speed Euro 2024 social round-up: Scotland take in the views, Pepe hits top speed

    Saturday's Euro 2024 action was headlined by some of the game's biggest stars, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Kevin De Bruyne grabbing the attention.

    Ronaldo recorded his record-breaking seventh Euros assist – and was inundated with requests for photos from pitch invaders – as Portugal clinched top spot in Group F with a 3-0 win over Turkiye.

    De Bruyne then joined Youri Tielemans on the scoresheet as Belgium beat Romania 2-0, teeing up a tense finale in Group E.

    Georgia and Czechia, meanwhile, played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in Hamburg, leaving both teams needing a victory on the final matchday to have any chance of advancing.

    But what else was going on around Euro 2024? Here, we run through the best social media posts of the day.

    Eze and Konsa pool together

    England's social media accounts have been a trove of entertaining content throughout this tournament, and on Saturday's edition of their Lions' Den livestream, Eberechi Eze and Ezri Konsa took centre-stage.

    Eze and Konsa took on the 'what a clearance' challenge, looking to clear a pool table as quickly as possible as a pairing.

    A respectable score put them third on the leaderboard, but they were unable to match the top two pairings – Declan Rice and Ivan Toney, and Jarrod Bowen and Marc Guehi.

    Kante shows off

    France's goalless draw with the Netherlands on Friday may not have been a game for the neutrals, but we were at least treated to another tireless display from N'Golo Kane.

    Even at the age of 33 and after a season in the Saudi Pro League, Kante remains one of the game's top box-to-box midfielders, covering every blade of grass against the Oranje.

    On Saturday, France's official X account proved once and for all that a year out of the European game has not affected Kante's physique… 

    It's fair to say he remains in tip-top condition.

    Cologne turns yellow for Romania

    A sizeable contingent of Romanian fans made their opening game at Euro 2024 a real spectacle, forming a wall of yellow in Munich as they crushed Ukraine 3-0.

    On Saturday, they headed to Cologne for their second match against Belgium, which ended in defeat despite a spirited performance.

    The highlight of the day for many supporters will surely have been the pre-match scenes, as they turned the historic city centre yellow.

    Ronaldo's pride as Portugal progress

    Portugal's game against Turkiye was interrupted on several occasions as pitch invaders attempted to grab a photograph with one of the world's most famous players.

    Ronaldo had already made his mark on the pitch with an assist for former Manchester United team-mate Bruno Fernandes, as the Selecao demonstrated their credentials with a 3-0 victory.

    After the game, he took to social media to share a few snaps of his own, as well as some words of congratulations for his Portugal team-mates.

    Scotland savour the view

    Scotland's Euro 2024 adventure could come to an end on Sunday, with Steve Clarke's men requiring a victory over Hungary to have a chance of reaching the last 16.

    If they are sent packing after this weekend, they will definitely miss the scenic views at their Garmisch-Partenkirchen base camp.

    They will be hoping Saturday's training session was not their last set to this jaw-dropping mountain vista. 

    Like a fine wine

    Portugal's victory over Turkiye featured another composed performance from 41-year-old centre-back Pepe.

    The former Real Madrid man displayed his excellent reading of the game to cut out one menacing counterattack from Turkiye with the score at 1-0 and was generally excellent throughout.

    Pepe may be no slouch, but we're pretty sure UEFA have done him a favour with this picture… 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.