Jurgen Klopp discussed injuries, safe standing, set-pieces, Mainz comparisons and Takumi Minamino‘s revival in his pre-Brentford press conference on Friday morning.
Here are five key things from Klopp’s press conference, which was held at Kirkby.
Thiago and Naby are still out
Are we surprised? Both Thiago and Naby Keita will be missing this weekend and likely for an extended period.
“That’s not 100 percent clear, when Thiago will be back,” Klopp said of his No. 6.
“It’s a muscle in the calf issue obviously, so…after the international break, probably. I don’t think anything earlier is possible. We will have to see.”
On Keita, Klopp added: “Nothing really serious, but it keeps him out of the next game for sure, and maybe a little bit longer, we have to see there as well.”
The manager is clearly frustrated, as we are, to see three of his regular starting midfielders sidelined already – leaving Curtis Jones, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to vie for the third place.
Taki is a “completely different player” after his loan
When Minamino joined Southampton on a half-season loan in February, it seemed like the writing was on the wall.
Few senior players go out on loan and return to take up a first-team role at Liverpool – with Divock Origi a rare example – but after a spell at St Mary’s, Minamino is now back and scoring for the Reds.
“It helped massively that he went to Southampton, of course. He came back a completely different player,” Klopp enthused.
“You can see that now, his finishes are really incredible, how he connects the game, how he drops in the right moment.
“He’s a different package now. That was really helpful.
“Players need time, we just don’t give them it often enough. He used the time, so that’s good.”
Klopp backs safe standing
Though Liverpool have opted out of this season’s trial, the news that Premier League clubs can test safe standing in their stadia from January 1 has been welcomed by Klopp.
“After quite a long time, I think it’s a good moment to start thinking about how we can get back to where we were,” he explained.
Klopp added: “I think I like it, I like the idea. I’m really excited about how much better the atmosphere could be at Anfield if we have safe standing.
“I would be really surprised if it could be even better, but I’m open for that, so let’s see.”
He’s a big Brentford fan!
Klopp compared the story of Brentford‘s rise to the Premier League to his time with Mainz, saying: “We had no money, we had to be creative in the transfer market…it shows it’s still possible.”
One of the biggest influences on that comes with their successful sales, with Klopp singling out Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma as “two of the best strikers in the Premier League.”
“Now they found, last year, the next one, with Ivan [Toney],” he added.
“He was on the market, I’m not sure how many Championship, nearly Premier League teams were going for him, but Brentford did.”
The secret behind the set-pieces
Liverpool are back as a major threat from set-pieces again this season, with a majority of their chances coming from free-kicks and corners.
Klopp credited his assistant Peter Krawietz, along with the return of both targets and takers to the side, as key to that revival.
“Pete Krawietz and the analysts are really creative there,” he explained.
“We had to get it settled a little bit, not being so creative that nobody knows which routine we use. But we have now a nice [set] that we use from time to time.
“Obviously when the big guns are then back, Virg, Joel, Joe and now Ibou, when they can be a threat in the box, that helps obviously.
“When the right takers are out there, that helps as well.”