EPL

'Did anyone expect us to be champions?' – Klopp not ready to assess final season at Anfield

By Sports Desk April 26, 2024

Jurgen Klopp refused to assess his final season at Liverpool just yet, despite the campaign seemingly starting to fizzle out.

Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Everton in the Merseyside derby dealt a huge blow to Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes.

The Reds are now three points clear of leaders Arsenal, while they are two points behind second-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

Klopp has just four matches left of his Liverpool tenure, though he is not ready to assess the final season of his stint just yet.

"I would not assess it now. I have no clue, so I am not in the mood to give up, wave the white flag kind of thing," he said ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Ham.

"I just think we have to look after ourselves; just make sure that we play better football. I said after the game 'why should a team who play like us against Everton be champions?' But the football we played before, a lot of good stuff. In January we looked invincible, with a depleted squad. Everybody went in the same direction, go for it, squeezed out results.

"So, we deserve to be where we are. I want us to use the situation, don't feel the pressure, for whatever reason it is. The boys are incredible footballers and I see it as my job to create that atmosphere where they can be the best versions of themselves – and that's obviously how I have failed.

"I don't know how it happened, but I didn't see anything of what I wanted us to be in the Everton game."

Klopp did, though, reminded the media that Liverpool have performed above expectations.

"Did anyone expect us to become champions at the start of the season? No, but it developed in this direction," Klopp added.

"Just to explain how different it is. We cannot go back to the point where we say 'yeah, well [qualifying for the Champions League] is good enough'. It is very good, but because we were so close, we are very, very disappointed in this moment in time. We cannot change that."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Ham – Jarrod Bowen

Bowen has scored in both of West Ham’s meetings with Liverpool so far this season – the only Hammers player to score in three different games against the Reds in a single campaign is Geoff Hurst in 1964-65.

Liverpool – Mohamed Salah

Salah has received criticism for his recent form, but he has scored 11 goals for Liverpool against West Ham in all competitions, only netting more against Manchester United (14) in his Reds career.

MATCH PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL WIN

West Ham have won just one of their last eight Premier League home games (D5 L2), beating Brentford 4-2 in February. They lost against Fulham last time out but haven’t lost consecutive home league games since a run of three in November/December 2022.

Liverpool have already beaten West Ham 3-1 in the Premier League and 5-1 in the League Cup so far this season. This is the 11th different campaign in which they have faced the Hammers 3+ times, but they have never managed to beat them three times in any of the previous 10.

Since keeping back-to-back clean sheets against Liverpool in the 2015-16 campaign, West Ham have conceded at least once in each of their last 15 against the Reds, conceding multiple goals in 12 of those games.

Liverpool have only won more Premier League games against Crystal Palace (13) than they have against West Ham (12) under Klopp.

West Ham have lost 12 of their last 14 Premier League games against Liverpool, with both exceptions in this run coming at home (1-1 in February 2019, 3-2 in November 2021).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

West Ham – 21.7%

Liverpool – 52.5%

Draw – 25.8%

Related items

  • Ten Hag reveals Man Utd future was settled 'on holiday in Ibiza' Ten Hag reveals Man Utd future was settled 'on holiday in Ibiza'

    Erik ten Hag revealed his Manchester United future was settled whilst on holiday in Ibiza, though he is yet to agree a contract extension at Old Trafford.

    The Dutchman's future with the Red Devils was in doubt following a disappointing 2023-24 season, in which they recorded their lowest Premier League finish of eighth.

    Although Ten Hag, who has a year remaining on his existing contract, did lead United to FA Cup glory following a 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester City in the final at Wembley.

    The club's new co-owner Jim Ratcliffe reportedly spoke to several candidates to potentially replace the Dutchman, including former Chelsea and Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel.

    Ten Hag confirmed this, before United officials visited him to confirm he would remain in charge, and they would extend his stay at Old Trafford.

    "The club management came to me while I was on holiday in Ibiza," he told Dutch TV channel NOS. "They suddenly showed up on my doorstep and told me they wanted to continue with me."

    "Ineos took their time. They are new to football; it's normal to reflect on the season. It's no secret that they talked with multiple candidates.

    "In the Netherlands, that is not done. You are not even allowed to talk to another club if there is a current manager there. But in England, the rules and laws are different.

    "Manchester United have told me that they spoke with Tuchel, but they eventually came to the conclusion that they already have the best manager.

    "We had a good discussion and various topics were discussed. One of the conclusions is that we will extend the contract, but we still have to reach an agreement."

  • No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad

    Dorival Junior has stuck with the same 26-man squad he provisionally selected for Brazil's 2024 Copa America campaign.

    Juventus' Bremer, Atalanta midfielder Ederson and Porto forward Pepe were all called up when CONMEBOL announced the squads were being expanded from 23 players to 26.

    The Brazilian had already had to make changes after Manchester City's Ederson was ruled out due to an injury sustained at the end of the Premier League season, with Rafael brought in to replace him.

    Lucas Paqueta also keeps his place after the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) confirmed he would be allowed to stay with the squad despite being charged by the England Football Association (FA) for allegedly breaching betting rules.

    Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Thiago Silva had already been left out of the provisional squad announced in May, while Richarlison and Neymar are both missing due to injury.

    Brazil are nine-time winners of the Copa America and will begin their campaign against Costa Rica on June 24 before also facing Paraguay and Colombia in Group D.

    Final Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Bento (Atletico PR), Rafael (Sao Paolo), Beraldo (PSG), Bremer (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel (Arsenal), Marquinhos (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), Yan Couto (Girona), Guilherme Arana (Atletico MG), Wendell (Porto), Andreas Pereira (Fulham), Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Ederson (Atalanta), Joao Gomes (Wolves), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Endrick (Palmeiras), Evanilson (Porto), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Pepe (Porto), Raphinha (Barcelona), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Savinho (Girona), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

  • Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football

    Raphinha has responded to Kylian Mbappe's claims that the Euros are harder than the World Cup by reminding the Frenchman who beat them in the 2022 final.

    In an interview, Mbappe noted that France had not won the European Championships in 24 years, which is something he will be looking to change this year.

    That observation then led to him saying, "The Euros is a difficult competition, more than a World Cup. All the teams know each other, and the style of soccer is similar. Group stages are difficult."

    However, Brazil's Raphinha was not happy with the 25-year-old's comparison, pointing out that Argentina prevented them from winning the World Cup in 2022.

    "Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he lost a World Cup against a South American team," Raphinha said in a press conference ahead of the Copa America.

    The Barcelona winger also referenced other comments made by Mbappe from a couple of years ago. The new Real Madrid star implied World Cup qualification was easier in South America than in Europe, and suggested the football "wasn't as advanced".

    Raphinha added, "I would like to see the European teams playing in the South American qualifiers on the fields where we play. That's when I'd see if it's easy or hard."

    Brazil begin their Copa America campaign against Costa Rica on June 24, while France will face Austria in their Euro 2024 opener on Monday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.