Liverpool expectations mean victory is always vital, claims Klopp

By Sports Desk November 23, 2021

Jurgen Klopp was adamant that his Liverpool team will not step off the gas when they face Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Liverpool host Porto in their fifth game of the Champions League campaign with top spot in Group B already secured.

The Reds have taken 12 points from 12 on offer so far, with a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid last time out guaranteeing their position as group winners.

Porto were hammered 5-1 in the reverse fixture, though a win at Anfield could see them through should Atleti lose to Milan.

Klopp suggested he will look to rotate his side as the fixture list begins to become even more hectic, though insisted that does not mean Liverpool - who trashed Arsenal 4-0 on Saturday - will change their full-throttle approach.

"When you sign a contract for Liverpool as a manager or player you pretty much have to win all the games," he told a news conference.

"It means there's a lot of pressure on their shoulders. We don't have to win the game tomorrow but we want to win the game. I hope it gives us the freedom to play but have the desire to defend and all those kinds of things.

"In our Champions League history since I was here we always had to fight until the last second of the last game to get through the group, that's the only difference but actually it's not in my mind. I know it's a difference, but we try to win the game.

"We know that our opponent will be motivated in the highest level, for two reasons, because we won there in the other game in a way they didn't like and another is if they win they have a final against Atletico in the last match of the group, so that's what they want.

"It will be a difficult game for us, I really hope everybody at Anfield is at their best, we always show up to win the game. We never take this thing for granted, I hope nobody is doing that, we need to put a proper fight together, I'm pretty confident we can do that."

Liverpool also played in a Champions League dead rubber last season, with Klopp's decision to field a strong team backfiring when Diogo Jota sustained a serious injury.

"It's really easy to sit there and say leave him out, leave this player out," Klopp hit back when asked if he regretted that decision.

"It's very easy to sit in your chair, we have to line up a team to win the game and the Diogo situation was very unlucky and I hated it. Would I have done the same decision again? Yes.

"We need stability, we cannot play football games with one line up and then the next game change the team and then bring them back again, the players need rhythm, all these kinds of things.

"It's not fair that you bring it up this old story that a player got injured. These things happen in football and hopefully nothing happens tomorrow."

Jordan Henderson and Andrew Robertson are, according to Klopp, fit after returning from injuries, though he is unsure if either will play a part against Porto, who have never beaten Liverpool in nine competitive meetings.

One player set to feature is Takumi Minamino, who scored less than a minute after coming on from the bench against Arsenal.

Klopp said: "He played for Japan in the last few games because he's in good shape, he's in exceptional shape, we knew that.

"That's why it's important for us. He's pretty much our first option for changing five positions, that says a lot, because he can play all the different positions and when he came on it was a wonderful moment, 40 seconds on the pitch and scoring a goal.

"You can see the confidence now and how good a player he is. He will get his minutes, definitely."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Liverpool plan move for Napoli's Spain international Fabian Ruiz Rumour Has It: Liverpool plan move for Napoli's Spain international Fabian Ruiz

    Liverpool are in the market to add depth and quality to their midfield.

    The Reds are currently second in the Premier League, after four straight wins.

    Liverpool have scored a Premier League-high 44 goals in 15 games.

     

    TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL CHASING FABIAN RUIZ

    Liverpool want to sign Napoli's Spain international Fabian Ruiz next off-season to bolster their midfield, reports Fichajes.

    The Reds view the 25-year-old as an ideal player on an upward trajectory in his career.

    Georginio Wijnaldum exited Liverpool for Paris Saint-Germain last off-season with no obvious replacement added.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Fichajes reports that Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Ajax's Argentinean left-back Nicolas Tagliafico.

    - Milan are interested in Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic and Real Madrid's Luka Jovic as they look to add depth to their squad reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

    - Inter are tracking FC Zurich's 20-year-old Switzerland international defender Becir Omeragic claims Calciomercato.

    - The Athletic reports that Southampton will sign ex-Chelsea and Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero as emergency cover. Caballero, 40, is a free agent.

  • Ajax boss Ten Hag 'ready' to coach abroad amid Man Utd links Ajax boss Ten Hag 'ready' to coach abroad amid Man Utd links

    Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag said he is "ready" to coach abroad and would be "happy to take up that challenge" amid reported interest from Manchester United.

    Ten Hag has been linked with Premier League giants United, who are eyeing a long-term manager following the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick until the end of the season.

    Ajax's Ten Hag has impressed in his time in Amsterdam, where the 51-year-old has delivered two Eredivisie titles and embarked on a memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.

    Ten Hag's men have been the entertainers of Europe this term, dazzling their way into the Champions League round of 16, while topping the Eredivisie ahead of rivals PSV by a point.

    "I think I'm ready for it [coaching abroad]. I would be happy to take up that challenge," Ten Hag told De Volkskrant, with Ajax managing to score 48 goals while only conceding twice in the league this term.

    "But I'm not chasing it. If it turns out that that step will never come, I will not say that my coaching career has failed.

    "But I think I have sufficient competencies to take on that challenge."

    The Rangnick era, albeit on an interim basis, started with a 1-0 win for United at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

    Rangnick became the sixth German to manage in the Premier League and the first German to win his first game in charge in the competition (Felix Magath, Jurgen Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel all failing to do so before him).

    Following the victory against Palace, six of the last seven managers (including caretakers) have won their first game in charge of United in all competitions, with Louis van Gaal being the only exception during this period (a 2-1 loss to Swansea City at Old Trafford in August 2014).

  • Vlahovic? 'Too early' to talk about future as Viola star enters history books – Prade Vlahovic? 'Too early' to talk about future as Viola star enters history books – Prade

    Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade said it is "still too early" to discuss Dusan Vlahovic's future as the wantaway star entered the Serie A history books.

    Vlahovic is set to leave Fiorentina after opting against signing a new deal in Florence, with the Serbia international's current contract expiring in June 2023.

    The 21-year-old has been linked to Serie A champions Inter, Juventus, Premier League holders Manchester City, Manchester United, Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich, LaLiga titleholders Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Arsenal.

    Amid the growing speculation, Vlahovic maintained his red-hot form with another goal in Sunday's 3-2 victory over Bologna.

    Vlahovic became only the fourth player in Serie A history to score 30 goals or more in a calendar year aged under 22 after Giuseppe Meazza in 1930, Felice Borel in 1933 and Antonio Valentin Angelillo in 1968.

    Prior to taking his season haul to 13 goals in 16 games, Prade was asked about Vlahovic.

    "It's still too early to say what will happen with him," Prade told Sky Sport Italia pre-game.

    "We are in a delicate moment and talking about the transfer market would be wrong for everyone.

    "He's being a professional, [coach Vincenzo] Italiano is happy with this and so are we."

    Before Vlahovic, only three Fiorentina players in the three points for a win era (since 1994-95) have managed to score at least 13 goals in the first 16 Serie A games of the season – Giuseppe Rossi, Luca Toni and Gabriel Batistuta.

    Since 2004-05, only David Suazo (14/14), Romelu Lukaku (12/12) and Vlahovic (12/12) have converted 100 per cent of penalties taken among those who have attempted at least 12 in Serie A during this period.

    Fiorentina are sixth in the standings – level on points with Juventus, and seven points behind fourth-placed Atalanta.

    The Viola have collected at least 27 points in the first 16 Serie A matchdays for the first time since 2015-16.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.