Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Klopp: Liverpool’s defeat of Fulham ‘a brilliant afternoon’

Leave a comment

Jurgen Klopp wasn’t grasping for positivity after Liverpool escaped Craven Cottage with a 2-1 defeat of Fulham and a place atop the Premier League table.

As a matter of fact, he felt great about his team’s performance in the win even after a colossal misunderstanding between Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker nearly cost the side all three points through an equalizer from ex-Reds forward Ryan Babel.

[ RECAP: Fulham 1-2 Liverpool ]

Fortunately for Liverpool, Sadio Mane won a penalty and James Milner converted it to give the Reds their win.

“It is clear at 1-0 if you don’t kill it off that can happen,” Klopp said. “Babel was there that is how football is. They deserved a goal but we deserved three points. A brilliant afternoon I have to say.”

Klopp said his side was hampered by its midweek Champions League defeat of Bayern Munich, and that he is not worried about them moving forward in pursuit of a Premier League title.

“I am not the most experienced manager and I have similar problems after Champions League games,” Klopp said, later adding, “I am not in any doubt about my players nerves. It is about intensity. We go for perfection but it is rare that you get it. Burnley, Munich, Fulham – you have to adapt. People will say we need to be more convincing, but we are at the start of a development, not the end.”

As for the mishap that had the score line at 1-1, both Milner and Van Dijk weren’t looking for excuses. Milner butchered a clearing attempt that put Van Dijk on the hook, and the Dutch defender’s pass back to Alisson was poor.

At the time, it had more than a hint of Steven Gerrard‘s infamous slip a few years back, one of the players of the season succumbing to misfortune.

At least Milner had a sense of humor about it.

“The gaffer told me to come on and calm it down and the first thing I do is slice it and put Virgil under pressure which wasn’t ideal,” Milner said.

“I am not giving excuses,” Van Dijk said. “I should have handled it better. They scored but so did we and we have three points and move back to the top of the table. … We knew it would be tough. We made it difficult for ourselves. We weren’t calm on the ball. We got the three points though and we can now focus on the national teams.”

Liverpool has a two-point lead on Man City, who has played one fewer match but that match is currently the Manchester Derby.

Klopp dismisses Bayern talk from Beckenbauer

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

We don’t often talk about Jurgen Klopp‘s future at Liverpool, but it isn’t a huge surprise that the former Borussia Dortmund man’s elimination of Bayern Munich from the UEFA Champions League have eyes opened wide in Germany.

[ LISTEN: Martino on PL clubs’ UCL success ]

This is so much so that Franz Beckenbauer, who played 567 times for Bayern, said it would be a “highlight” for the club to hire Klopp, crediting the manager with teaching “Germans how to play quickly.”

In response, Klopp does a pretty majestic job of giving Beckenbauer, Bayern, and Germany their due without opening the door to anything other than Anfield.

“There is no bigger legend in Germany than Franz Beckenbauer,” said Klopp. “It feels great he speaks positively about me. It is just like the king with his sword calling a man ‘sir’.”

But that’s where the flirtation ends.

From SkySports.com:

“So far, it has worked out, and hopefully it will last a lot longer. That would be cool. We are very happy about the situation and very positive about the future. We are fine with what we’ve done so far, but now we have to finish the season the best way possible.

“It is a big opportunity. We have improved a lot, but people judge it only on winning titles. We know that, but we can change it in the future.”

Klopp and Liverpool face Fulham on Sunday at Craven Cottage, but don’t sleep on the idea of his heading to Bayern at some point. While the Reds recently posted perhaps their most impressive win in his tenure at Anfield, pressure could increase if he fails to hold onto the side’s glorious chance to win the Premier League and finishes short of the UCL title again.

Klopp: Defending, experience will help Liverpool

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jurgen Klopp seems to be a bit calmer now that Liverpool has clinched a berth in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Drawing Porto for its next tie probably didn’t hurt his new vibe.

[ MORE: Analyzing the UCL draw ]

Reflecting on what worked for Liverpool against Bayern and how it needs to translate to the rest of the tournament, Klopp pointed to defense. That may explain why he opted for a midfield of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Jordan Henderson to start the second leg. From the BBC:

“The last five Champions League games we lost is because we didn’t defend like we wanted to but at Munich we did and from this basis you can win, it’s the experience from last year we get this and it has helped a lot. … If there is a final at the end, good – but we think about that at the end, not now.”

As for this weekend’s Premier League match with Fulham, which gives the Cottagers a chance to go atop the table, Klopp expects the Reds to be ready despite its monumental win over Bayern Munich in Germany.

The Reds’ boss has to quickly turn around his men for Saturday’s visit to Fulham, who are desperate for points and playing a bit better under interim boss Scott Parker.

“We’ve been over it and we have to make sure we are spot on from the opening second to win the game.”

“In the Shadow of the Kop” series kicks off

Leave a comment

We have something very special coming your way for the final weeks of the 2018-19 Premier League.

Roger Bennett has created an extensive digital series called “In the Shadow of the Kop” which focuses on all things Liverpool FC as Jurgen Klopp‘s men are fighting to win their first-ever Premier League title and a first league trophy since the 1989-90 campaign.

[ VIDEO: Watch the full series, here ]

Intriguing interviews with star players and key figures at the club dig deep into why everyone connected with LFC cares so much about being crowned champions of England once again.

In the first episode (watch in full above) Klopp joins Bennett to talk about the connection between Liverpool and their fans, the pressure of a title race and how to deal with the history of Liverpool, his responsibility to the club and more.

Click on the link above to watch every episode in the series, as two new episodes will be released each week on Tuesday and Thursday on NBCSports.com and our NBC Sports YouTube channel.

Klopp beams with pride after Liverpool’s Munich masterclass

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is suitably impressed with his squad after a complete 3-1 defeat of Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the UEFA Champions League.

Save an own goal, the Reds really were that good.

[ RECAP: Bayern 1-3 (1-3 agg.) Liverpool ]

“I don’t know a lot of teams who come here and win in the manner we won tonight,” Klopp said on TNT’s post-match coverage. “For us that’s a big step.”

Scoreless after one leg, it was 1-1 at the break thanks to a wonderful goal from Man of the Match winner Sadio Mane, who’d later add another, and a Joel Matip own goal.

Already ahead on away goals, the Reds kept coming for Manuel Neuer and Bayern.

“It’s the best way of defending, yeah? Keeping the ball and attacking the opponent. We tried to do that in the first half.”

“We scored a wonderful goal but we didn’t play enough football actually. We didn’t keep the ball in the right places. We wanted to be direct and use our speed in behind, but not constantly. It’s not a race, like let’s go Sadio and Mo. We wanted to control it more, and that’s what we did in the second half.”

Klopp is encouraging his men to enjoy the moment and not worry too much about Friday’s draw. They’ll get back to work Thursday ahead of a weekend Premier League match at Fulham, but the fiery German and his crew will be all play on Wednesday night.

Off television, Klopp had this to say about getting the better of his longtime nemesis dating back to his time at Borussia Dortmund (and Mainz).

“I didn’t just want to beat Bayern. I wanted to win with Liverpool. I am sure I will have a lot of fans happy from Dortmund and if I can help them, then that’s great too.”