EPL

Klopp reflects on 'special' Liverpool stint as tenure draws to a close

By Sports Desk May 18, 2024

Jurgen Klopp reflected on his "special" stint in charge of Liverpool ahead of his final game on Sunday.

Klopp will manage Liverpool for the last time when the Reds take on Wolves in their final Premier League match of the season.

Having taken over in 2015, Klopp has led Liverpool to their maiden Premier League title, a Champions League crown, the FA Cup, multiple EFL Cups, as well as the Super Cup and Club World Cup titles.

While this season's Premier League title challenge ultimately fizzled out, Klopp used his programme notes to laud his players and staff for their efforts.

He wrote: "If space allowed I could write name after name of people who I need to thank but there has never been a match programme of this size, so I will have to be more general. I could not be more appreciative of the players past and present who have served this club in the nine years that I have been here.

"What they have achieved in that time is special, not just in terms of the moments they have created and the success they have had, but also in the way they have underlined what it is to represent LFC.

"This will be the final time that we will see two of them – Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara – at Anfield and I know they will be given the send-off that they deserve.

"You do not need me to tell you what they have achieved as individuals, you have experienced it all at first hand and as with others who have left us in recent seasons, they have more than made their mark on this club during a period which I think has been memorable for all of us.

"This will also be the end of an era for several members of our coaching and backroom staff who will also move on. To put it simply, I could not have more appreciation for the work that has been done by Pep Lijnders, Peter Krawietz, Vitor Matos, John Achterberg, Jack Robinson, Andreas Kornmayer, Andreas Schlumberger and Ray Haughan.

"The big positive for Liverpool is that no matter who is leaving, the club is still in a very, very good place. This season we aimed for the moon and ended up in the stars which is never too bad and the players and staff who are remaining are top, top class.

"Yes, they will have new leadership before too long but this is a club that is ready to take the journey in a new and exciting direction, not one that is ready for the journey to come to an end."

Feyenoord coach Arne Slot confirmed on Friday that he would be replacing Klopp.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Liverpool - Mohamed Salah

Salah is set to make his 250th Premier League appearance for Liverpool in this match. The Egyptian already has the second-highest combined goals and assists tally by any player in their first 250 appearances for a single club in the competition (223 – 155 goals, 68 assists), behind only Thierry Henry for Arsenal (243 – 171 goals, 72 assists).

Wolves - Hwang Hee-chan

No Wolves player has scored more Premier League goals this season than Hwang Hee-chan (12). He gave his side the lead in the reverse fixture against Liverpool at Molineux – the last Wolves player to score home and away against the Reds in a league campaign was John Richards in 1972-73.

MATCH PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL WIN

Liverpool have conceded at least once in each of their last 10 Premier League home games. They last had a longer run without a league clean sheet at home between January and November 1954, a run of 17 games that included relegation to the second division.

Between Christmas Eve and March 9, only the current top three sides earned more points in the Premier League than Wolves (22 – W7 D1 L3). Since then, only Sheffield United (two) have won fewer points than Gary O’Neil's side (five), with Wolves winning just one of their last nine (D2 L6).

Wolves have lost eight and won just one of their nine Premier League games on MD38. Their win rate of 11 per cent on the final day is the lowest of any side currently in the competition, while their current run of losing seven consecutive such games is the joint-longest in English top-flight history.

Liverpool have won 13 of their last 14 Premier League meetings with Wolves, with the exception being a 3-0 loss at Molineux in February last season.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Liverpool - 65.6%

Wolves - 12.7%

Draw - 21.7%

Related items

  • Sabitzer focused on last-16 qualification after Champions League heartache Sabitzer focused on last-16 qualification after Champions League heartache

    Marcel Sabitzer insisted he will put his Champions League final defeat in the past as he prepares to help Austria reach the last-16 of Euro 2024. 

    The Borussia Dortmund midfielder played the full duration of their 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid at Wembley earlier this month. 

    Los Blancos secured their 15th success in the competition thanks to goals late in the game from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior. 

    But Sabitzer played a starring role as Austria roared back from their defeat to France in their opening game of the competition, beating Poland 3-1 to bring it down to the final matchday. 

    Austria face the Netherlands in Berlin next Tuesday to conclude their Group D campaign, and know a win could see them finish top or second. 

    A draw or defeat could also leave Ralf Rangnick's side with a good chance of progressing as one of the four best third-placed teams. 

    "The possibilities then really open up," Sabitzer said.

    "I know that from the Champions League, especially this season. Once you're on a run in the knockout phase anything can happen.

    "The most important thing is to get through the group stage and into the round of 16 and then we'll see what happens next."

  • Brazil v Costa Rica: Endrick 'confident' of making Copa America impact Brazil v Costa Rica: Endrick 'confident' of making Copa America impact

    Endrick is confident he can help Brazil claim a 10th Copa America title as he prepares for his first international tournament with the Selecao Canarinho. 

    Brazil kickstart their campaign at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Monday against Costa Rica. 

    Dorival Junior's side will also face Paraguay and Colombia in Group E, hopeful of going one better this time around having lost to Argentina in the 2021 final. 

    The 17-year-old, who officially joins Real Madrid next month, has scored three goals in his last four games for Brazil but knows he will have to remain patient for his opportunity at the Copa America. 

    "Only God knows [when I will start]," Endrick said. I am very grateful to have Abel [Ferreira] as a coach, he knew when to play me.

    "Everything is up to God and Dorival Junior, the professor. He is a spectacular coach. He is doing what is best for the Brazilian team.

    "I have always been very precocious in my life and since I became a professional I have played against opponents who have always teased me, insulted me, talked about my family, my girlfriend.

    "But I got used to it quickly because I was 16. I'm calm, and I hope I can help. I think it's right, in football you have to destabilise the other player.

    "It's been like that since I arrived, so I've adapted, and I'm very confident that I can help the team."

    For Costa Rica Gustavo Alfaro, he has experience at the Copa America having guided Ecuador to the quarter-finals of the previous tournament in 2021.

    The 61-year-old also took them to the following year's World Cup, where they opened with a 2-0 win against hosts Qatar before drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands, but failed to reach the knockouts after losing 2-1 to Senegal in their final group game.

    However, Alfaro faces a different proposition with Los Ticos. Costa Rica have failed to make it beyond the group stages in each of the last two appearances; they last did so in 2004, but their recent form holds reason for optimism. 

    Costa Rica have won four of their previous six international fixtures, losing only once over that stretch (3-1 to Argentina). They have also not conceded in any of their last three competitive fixtures, winning 15 of their previous 16 encounters when scoring the opening goal.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Brazil - Vinicius Junior 

    Vinicius Junior played a starring role in Real Madrid's LaLiga and Champions League successes in 2023-24, and claiming a first international honour with his nation would surely put the 23-year-old in pole position to scoop the Ballon d'Or. 

    The Los Blancos star had 35 goal involvements (24 goals and 11 assists) in 39 appearances in all competitions for the Spanish side, his second-best campaign since his move to Madrid in 2021-22 (22 goals and 20 assists). 

     

    Costa Rica - Manfred Ugalde

    Having failed to score for his new side, Spartak Moscow, after his move from FC Twente in January, Ugalde rediscovered his goal-scoring touch at the opportune moment heading into the tournament. 

    The 22-year-old striker grabbed a goal and three assists in Costa Rica's CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers against Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and will be hoping to continue that form in Inglewood against Brazil. 

    MATCH PREDICTION: BRAZIL WIN

    Brazil and Costa Rica have faced each other twice in the Copa America, with both victories for the Brazilian team in 1997 (5-0) at the Estadio Ramon Tahuichi Aguilera and in 2004 (4-1) with Adriano scoring a hat-trick for Carlos Alberto Parreira's side. 

    The Selecao Canarinho have won 10 of their 11 meetings against their opponents, with their last defeat coming in the Panamerican Championship in March 1960 (3-0), with Brazil backed to continue their nine-game unbeaten run. 

    Costa Rica will look to continue their impressive record against CONMEBOL teams at the Copa America, having lost one of their last four matches against them (W2 D1).

    Gustavo Alfaro's side will seek to string together victories for the first time against CONMEBOL opponents in the competition, having defeated Colombia 3-2 in the 2016 edition.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Brazil - 71%

    Costa Rica - 16.1%

    Draw - 12.9%

  • 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.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.