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A team of leaders – 5 key things from Klopp’s pre-West Ham press conference

Jurgen Klopp provided some unwelcome injury news as he previewed what he expects to be a tough, but exciting Premier League meeting with West Ham.

Here are five key things from Klopp’s press conference at Kirkby on Friday:

 

1. West Ham now the “full package”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 31, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp (R) chats with West Ham United's manager David Moyes before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

The Hammers are just two points and two places behind Liverpool in the table and have been rejuvenated under the management of David Moyes.

As the joint-third highest-scoring team in the league and with only four clubs having a better defensive record, Klopp knows a tough test awaits.

“I don’t know if [Moyes] reinvented himself, but it’s absolutely incredible. A high energetic team, a counter-pressing team, counter-attacking but playing as well.

“Now it’s a full package…and rightly so really high in the table. We are in a good moment, they are in a good moment…I’m really excited to play it.”

 

2. Bobby injury a big blow!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 28, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino reacts as he is substituted with an injury during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s not what we wanted to hear but Firmino is set for a number of weeks on the sidelines with a “serious” hamstring injury.

“Losing Bobby Firmino is a blow. I don’t need to verify that. We’ve known for two, three days. It’s a serious injury.

“I don’t know how long he will be out exactly but more than four [weeks], then we have to see. He is a quick healer.”

Klopp is hopeful that Curtis Jones, James Milner, Naby Keita and Joe Gomez will all be available soon after the international break.

 

3. Kostas vs. the best left-back in the world

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) celebrates with Kostas Tsimikas after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s hard to think of a time Liverpool had two left-backs who could compete for a spot in the side, but they do now in Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas.

And the latter has finally had his breakthrough and is reaping the rewards, as too Liverpool who now have options and the ability to rest and rotate.

“Kostas has a lot of quality, what I don’t like about this so early is what does it mean, push Andy Robertson? He pushes Andy Robertson, but in my view, Andy Robertson is the best left-back in the world.

“That makes it really tricky but it’s good that we have to option that we can give Robbo a rest in moments, even when he doesn’t like it or need it in his understanding.

“You need these quality players. He needed to adapt to all the things we do but this process is done now. He’s a really good football player and we’re really happy to have him.”

 

4. Are Liverpool underdogs in the title race?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Can I?” was Klopp’s response to that very question but “we don’t consider ourselves at all like saying who we are [in the race],” as long as Liverpool are in it, that’s all that matters.

But Klopp knows this league is no easy task as it’s made a “big jump again.”

“The league is absolutely incredible. There’s no game at all where you go and think ‘yeah, you can rest him, him and him’. You have to be on your absolute top, constantly.

“It makes it the best league in the world. Not sure it’s always been but for sure the last two, three years it was for sure the best league.”

 

5. A team of leaders

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 28, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson hands the captain's armband to Virgil van Dijk as he is substituted during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Should Jordan Henderson feature, as expected on Sunday, it will be his 300th appearance in the Premier League for the club and his leadership and that of his teammates received praise from Klopp.

“After six years working together, he was the perfect choice [as captain]. The perfect role model for a footballer, a real leader.

“You have to share it and that’s what the boys do. Milly is a massive voice in this team, Virgil grew in that position as well and now the next generation is coming with Trent and Robbo.

“Ali is a very calm asset as well to all of this and Mo is, obviously, a natural leader. We have a top group. Thank god Hendo doesn’t have to do it alone, but he is the captain of this team…and he fills the role in a perfect way.”

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