Klopp: Oxlade-Chamberlain can improve... like Liverpool

By Sports Desk October 23, 2019

Jurgen Klopp believes there is much more to come from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the midfielder's excellent brace inspired Liverpool's 4-1 Champions League win at Genk.

Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first appearance in Europe's top competition since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the 2018 semi-final against Roma and marked the occasion in style.

A low drive gave him and Liverpool a second-minute opener at the Luminus Arena but it was his second before the hour that brought the house down.

After collecting Roberto Firmino's pass, Oxlade-Chamberlain unleashed a magnificent shot with the outside of his right foot from 20 yards that went in off the underside of Gaetan Coucke's crossbar.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah added goals that were similarly easy on the eye before substitute Stephen Odey netted a late consolation – adding up to a scoreline that felt a touch harsh on Genk after they cut through the Liverpool defence frequently.

"An absolutely great moment for him but Ox’s performance was, I would say, exactly like the performance of the team: the goals were great but all the rest could have been better," Klopp told a post-match news conference.

"That’s how it is, it’s no problem. The goals were sensational and very important for us.

"Obviously it was wonderful last Sunday that Adam [Lallana] scored the goal and now Ox has scored two goals which is really nice. It’s absolutely great, a great story."

Klopp felt Liverpool left themselves exposed to a pacey Genk attack by carelessly ceding possession during the first half.

"The plan worked for 10 or 15 minutes okay and then not anymore because we lost completed unexpected balls, which we were not ready for," he said.

"We lost too many of them and sometimes we took a risk in the wrong moment. A pass or a one-two in a very tight space, it makes not too much sense.

"Then we scored the second goal, the first goal was brilliant but the second was even nicer – all our goals were unbelievably beautiful – and the second looked like it was a proper knock for Genk."

Klopp confirmed Andy Robertson's second-half substitution was not caused by an injury after the Scotland international endured some torrid moments against Genk winger Junya Ito.

Related items

  • Bielsa backs Pochettino to land top job after 'brilliant' Tottenham work Bielsa backs Pochettino to land top job after 'brilliant' Tottenham work

    Mauricio Pochettino will get the chance to take charge of one of the best teams in the world due to his efforts at Tottenham, Marcelo Bielsa says.

    Spurs sacked Pochettino this week after just five wins in 17 matches in all competitions this season and replaced him with former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

    The 47-year-old's departure came less than six months after he led Spurs to their first Champions League final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool.

    Bielsa, who coached Pochettino as a young player at Newell's Old Boys and has been credited with influencing his post-playing career, says reaching that final showed just how well the Spurs side had been constructed even in a season in which no players were signed.

    Bielsa now expects Pochettino to be given a chance by one of the world's top clubs.

    "I'm going to talk, not about the relationship I have with Pochettino, but for what I have observed in English football," the Leeds United boss said on Thursday.

    "The work Pochettino has done is brilliant. In the last year, he put Tottenham in a high level in the world. For any coach, it's a very important achievement. For Pochettino, I think it's even more important because the team that played in the Champions League last year was a team he built very carefully.

    "The performance of this team was more linked by collective play rather than top players being bought for them. They didn't buy big players to achieve this. This reality makes Pochettino's work even more important.

    "People who work professionally like that earn absolutely deserved credit. Maybe he couldn't enjoy this credit at Tottenham. But he will take this credit and big teams in the world will look to capitalise on it.

    "For sure, he is a manager who will lead one of the best teams in the world. He made Tottenham one of the most important teams in the world.

    "I have a lot of affection and respect for Mauricio. When something that is not good happens to him, I can't ignore it. If we look at the close effect of the situation, we can be sad. I feel sad.

    "But in 15 days, he'll be at the top again, because when you see things from a distance, without looking at recent facts, then you can realise what you've really achieved.

    "Now, he leaves a team that is attractive to Mourinho – that has a lot of value. The next team who take him will express again the respect Pochettino has created."

  • Rashford insists Solskjaer is perfect for Man United despite Pochettino talk Rashford insists Solskjaer is perfect for Man United despite Pochettino talk

    Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford insists there is no better manager for the club than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite suggestions they could be interested in Mauricio Pochettino.

    Tottenham sacked Pochettino this week and replaced him with former United boss Jose Mourinho, with Spurs having won only four of their past 18 matches in all competitions.

    There has been talk that United could consider turning to Pochettino to take over from Solskjaer, whose side have only managed two more points than Spurs from their opening 12 Premier League games of the season.

    However, Rashford - who signed a new four-year contract in July – said Solskjaer's plans were part of the reason why he committed his future to the club.

    "There was no hesitation from me over signing a new contract," he told Sky Sports News.

    "And it was the same for Ole as well – I could see where his head was at, where he wanted the club to be at and for me it was just a no-brainer.

    "We were on the same page and wanted the same things for the club. Ole is a great guy and he has the club's interests at heart so there's not a better person for the job in my opinion."

    While he supports Solskjaer, Rashford admits he will not be happy if United end the season in the Premier League's top four but without winning a trophy.

    The Red Devils have not won meaningful silverware since claiming the EFL Cup and Europa League in Mourinho's first term in charge in 2016-17.

    With the Premier League title seemingly out of their reach already this season – leaders Liverpool are already 18 points ahead of United after 12 matches – Solskjaer's routes to success lie in the cup competitions.

    There is pressure on United to return to the Champions League after failing to qualify last season, but Rashford does not think 2019-20 can be considered a success unless they also win at least one of the EFL Cup, FA Cup or Europa League.

    "It's been a while," the England international added about United's barren run of titles. "If we come out of this season with top four but without a trophy, I wouldn't be happy.

    "If we manage to get some trophies and get ourselves into the top four then, of course, it has been a successful season.

    "For me, it is just about putting markers down for what we can do in the future because we know that this period is not going to change overnight, Ole's not going to get what he wants overnight.

    "We have to bide our time and just be patient, as long as we keep working hard and believe in what we are doing – which I think the team do 100 per cent – then I think we will be fine."

  • Tottenham can win the Premier League, says 'humble' Mourinho Tottenham can win the Premier League, says 'humble' Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho believes Tottenham can target the Premier League title next season after he sought to strike a humble tone at his maiden news conference.

    The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United boss was installed as Spurs' head coach this week in the aftermath of Mauricio Pochettino's shock sacking.

    Dismal domestic form that leaves Tottenham languishing in 14th going into Saturday's London derby at West Ham ultimately brought the end of Pochettino's five-and-a-half-year reign.

    The yawning gap to leaders Liverpool stands at 20 points after 12 games, but Mourinho lavished praise on his new squad and claimed a first league title for Spurs since 1960-61 in 2020-21 is possible.

    "We can't win the Premier League this season," he told reporters.

    "Next season, I'm not saying we will win it, but we can win it."

    Mourinho has spent 11 months out of football since his sacking at Manchester United and the appointment of new faces to his backroom staff – coaches Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos joining from Lille – add to a sense of him turning over a new leaf.

    "I am humble enough to try and analyse my career, not just the last year but my career- the evolution, the problems," he said.

    "The principle of the analysis was not to blame anyone else. When I had meetings with my assistants and the people I wanted to bring with me in this chapter it was on the principle that there was no one else to blame.

    "I'm not going to make the same mistakes. I'm going to make new mistakes. I'm going to be stronger.

    "From an emotional point of view I'm relaxed, motivated and ready and I think the players felt that these two days. I'm ready and I'm here to support them.

    "In life you go through periods like this, where it's not about myself, it's about my players and my club."

    Nevertheless, Mourinho also insisted the playing style and principles that have yielded league titles in four countries will remain, as will his requirement for his players to always put the demands of the collective before themselves.

    "[My style will be] very similar to before. On top of that I will try to add the details and sometimes the details can make the difference," he explained.

    "The style of play has to be always adapted, not just to the club culture but to the playing squad. These are the players, they have their qualities.

    "I read a quote from Kobe Bryant and, if you have to speak about some example of professionalism and a serial winner, Kobe is a great example in the world of sport. He said: 'People say that I am difficult but I am only difficult for the ones who do not share my principles.'

    "All the colleagues who share his principles love him. The ones who don't like him are the ones who don't share the principles. With me it is basically the same.

    "For me everything is about the team, it is not about selfish people. It is about the group, professionalism, commitment, respect for the club, respect for the team-mates.

    "I cannot run away from this. If there is somebody that doesn't share these principles with me then they have a problem and we will always have a problem.

    "This is the way I think football has to be. The players are only big when they make the others better. You cannot be a big player if you only think about yourself. That is another principle."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.