EPL

Klopp's 300th Liverpool game comes amid fading title defence

By Sports Desk February 12, 2021

Jurgen Klopp will take charge of his 300th Liverpool game when the Premier League champions head to Leicester City on Saturday.

The German has brought the glory days back to Anfield since replacing Brendan Rodgers in 2015, winning the Champions League in 2018-19 before ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight title last season.

However, injury problems have contributed to a dip in form this term and they trail Manchester City by 10 points, leaving Klopp in a less celebratory mood than he might have been ahead of his landmark.

"First and foremost it doesn't feel like [I'm approaching my 300th game] in this moment, I can tell you," he said ahead of his meeting with Rodgers' side this weekend.

"It's not really important. It's something that when I'm not here any more I will think about the time I had here.

"I know that my job is still the present and the future, and not the past. Game number 300 is very important to me, and games one to 299 not a little bit at this moment.

"We know that we are not completely clueless or whatever, but we know that we have to be successful in the future and that's what we try.

"I don't get the noise around the results...but I know what the situation is and I talk about results in general.

"Even though I know the reason why we are not flying, I expect us to win more football games than we did to be honest, and that's what I'm concerned about."

While the Reds' title defence may be crumbling under immense pressure from City, Klopp's record still makes for impressive reading.

In his 299 games to date, the 53-year-old has won 177, with only Kenny Dalglish (185) having claimed more victories at the same stage of his reign.

His win percentage stands at a club-record 59.2, putting him above the likes of Bill Shankly (51.9) and Bob Paisley (57.4), with Liverpool having scored 614 goals under his charge, conceding 308.

Klopp will need to stick around on Merseyside for quite some time if he wants to rack up the highest number of wins, with Shankly having triumphed 415 times from his 799 matches.

His top priority will be aiming to respond to the setback of suffering consecutive defeats for the first time in his tenure, having been beaten by Brighton and Hove Albion before losing to Pep Guardiola's in-form side.

The last man to oversee three losses on the bounce for Liverpool was Foxes boss Rodgers, with Klopp's predecessor having achieved a 50 per cent win ratio at the club.

History weighs heavily against Rodgers piling the misery on Klopp, with managers who have previously been in charge of Liverpool having lost their last 12 Premier League matches against the Reds by an aggregate score of 39-8.

The last former Liverpool boss to win against them in the Premier League was Roy Hodgson with West Brom back in 2012.

Related items

  • 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors

    Luka Doncic quipped he feels like he is 40 years old after he celebrated his 25th birthday in style.

    Doncic became the first player in NBA history to finish with a triple-double on their birthday as he led the Dallas Mavericks to a 136-125 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

    He finished with 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds for his 11th triple-double of the season.

    Doncic has now had 39 30-point triple-doubles, which sees him surpass LeBron James in the all-time list for that feat.

    When asked if he considered his 25th birthday as a milestone, Doncic joked: "I feel like [I'm] 40, so no."

    Doncic was 11 for 23 from the field and missed 7 of 8 from 3-point range in his 67th career triple-double.

    "Just a normal game, triple-double," Jason Kidd said.

    "He was really good. I guess 25 means he's still going to be really good as he gets older here."

    Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and P.J. Washington Jr. added 23 points for Dallas, as they bounced back from back-to-back defeats.

    "Kyrie and Luka, they had such a poise in important moments to make the right plays," said Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic after his team saw a three-game winning streak snapped.

    Doncic added: "We just played aggressive on defense, got out on transition, that's it. 

    "My team knows when I'm engaged. Everybody helps everyone to be engaged.

    "I'm having so much fun. Back-to-back is always tough, a great win today, I've got to get some rest now."

  • Like father, like son – Liverpool’s youngsters now making a name for themselves Like father, like son – Liverpool’s youngsters now making a name for themselves

    Liverpool’s youngsters have had a significant week in the spotlight, helping beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday before setting up an FA Cup quarter-final trip to Manchester United after victory over Southampton.

    Three of them – Bobby Clark, Jayden Danns and Lewis Koumas – are following in their former professional footballer fathers’ footsteps.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at the fresh faces who have taken their opportunity to shine at Anfield.

    Bobby Clark

    Given a handful of opportunities in recent weeks, the 19-year-old is an attacking midfielder. The son of former Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark, he joined the club from the Magpies in 2021 and signed a long-term contract last December.

    Jayden Danns

    An 18-year-old forward, son of the much-travelled former Colchester, Crystal Palace and Bolton midfielder Neil Danns, only made his first-team debut as an 89th-minute substitute in the 4-1 win over Luton last Wednesday. A week later he came off the bench to score twice against Southampton.

    Lewis Koumas

    Koumas, the son of former Wales international Jason Koumas, joined the club as a 10-year-old from one of his dad’s former clubs Tranmere and only signed his first professional contract last month. He enjoyed a dream debut as, picked in the starting line-up, he scored the opening goal against Southampton.

    Conor Bradley

    A relatively familiar name among the group having been given an opportunity in the second half of the campaign in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Northern Irish right-back, 20, who spent last season on loan at Bolton, has shown promise for his attacking and defensive qualities.

    James McConnell

    The 19-year-old midfielder has featured a handful of times off the bench after making his debut against Toulouse in the Europa League in October. Joined Liverpool as an Under-15s player after catching the eye at Sunderland.

    Jarell Quansah

    Warrington-born defender who has established himself in the first-team squad this season. The 21-year-old, who had a loan spell with Bristol Rovers last term, is a ball-playing centre-half who has come through the ranks at Liverpool after joining them at the age of five.

    Trey Nyoni

    Nyoni spent 10 years at Leicester’s academy before joining Liverpool in September. The England Under-16 international’s rapid rise saw him come off the bench against Southampton to become the club’s youngest player to feature in the FA Cup at 16 years and 243 days and third-youngest in Liverpool’s history.

  • Virgil van Dijk’s advice to young Reds: ‘Soak it in and don’t get carried away’ Virgil van Dijk’s advice to young Reds: ‘Soak it in and don’t get carried away’

    Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk had advised the club’s emerging young stars to keep their feet on the ground – as he will be keeping an eye on them.

    Eighteen-year-olds Jayden Danns and Lewis Koumas, sons of former Premier League professionals Neil and Jason, scored the goals which beat Southampton 3-0 to set up an FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United.

    The last week has seen academy players thrust into the spotlight with an injury crisis denying Jurgen Klopp the services of 13 first-team players – with Andy Robertson’s illness briefly adding to the issues – and after impressing in the Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea they were central figures against Saints.

    Danns came off the bench to score twice in only his third appearance, all coming in the space of eight days, while Koumas was making his debut when he scored the opener.

    Klopp cautioned about putting too much expectation on the teenagers and Van Dijk said the next step in their development was to build on their early breakthroughs.

    “It was a big night for all of them and they should really take it in and enjoy it and see it as a start and really use it in every way,” said the 32-year-old defender, who admitted he felt old when “half my age” Trey Nyoni came off the bench.

    “They all have quality and all can play good football but it is about showing your quality and it’s a start.

    “For example, Trey at 16 years old, it is incredible. There will be so many ups and downs coming for him but he has to take it in as players (are) maybe coming back in the next weeks and months and it could be difficult for him (to get in the squad).

    “He has to keep pushing and the same for the rest of the young boys. That should be the mentality and I am sure they will do that.

    “In my career I’ve seen players who make their debuts after coming through the ranks and then disappear.

    “Even learning from being around the first team is massive and you should soak it all in and don’t get carried away.

    “They have to keep improving, keep working; staying humble is a very important thing but we have a great culture and I’m definitely one of the guys to make sure they keep doing that.”

    To produce such a result with injuries biting hard, just three days after a gruelling 120 minutes at Wembley, was testament to the determination of the youngsters and the endurance of the senior players still able to turn out.

    Van Dijk played only the first half as Klopp agreed a pre-match plan for him to be replaced by Ibrahima Konate after his influential performance against Chelsea.

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Virgil van Dijk (@virgilvandijk)

    And the Dutchman revealed one of the perks of being captain was that he got to take the trophy home on their arrival back on Merseyside.

     

    “I wanted to show my kids in person, close up,” he said.

    “I put it on the kitchen counter when I came home and left it there. I’ve got four kids and they were so happy to see it and then I took it back to training the next day so everyone could take a picture with it at the AXA (training centre) as they have all played their part in the success we have had and they deserve to be holding the trophy.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.