Jurgen Klopp talked injuries, his contract, Jarrod Bowen and the five sub rule as he previewed Liverpool’s Premier League clash with West Ham on Saturday evening.
Here are five key things from Klopp’s pre-match press conference…
Three new injuries…
It didn’t last long, did it?
The Liverpool squad remains in a strong position, but after having very briefly enjoyed a clean bill of health, the absences are stacking up again.
Klopp has ruled Joel Matip out of the clash with West Ham, while Curtis Jones and Naby Keita are both doubts. Thiago and Roberto Firmino are still out.
“From eight midfielders to three, four midfielders in a week,” the manager lamented. “That can happen easily.”
“Nothing has changed” on Klopp’s contract
Ahead of the FA Cup win over Norwich in midweek, Klopp raised hopes of extending his contract beyond 2024 in an interview with ITV.
However, he has now addressed those comments and insisted “nothing has changed” regarding his plan to leave.
“The plan is still the same,” he said.
“I realised when I gave the answer. I thought ‘oh god’, but I couldn’t take it back. I was just not in the situation.
“The plan is still the same, nothing has changed really.”
More praise for Bowen!
Liverpool are known to have tracked West Ham winger Bowen, and calls to bring the Englishman to Anfield have only amplified in a season that has seen him score 12 goals and assist 11 in 38 games so far.
This may deem him no longer a cost-effective signing for the Reds, but Klopp remains a keen admirer, as his pre-match praise showed.
“Bowen…what a player he became, unbelievable!” he said.
“We saw him as well at Hull and he was really good that time, but I’m not sure a lot of people expected this jump.
Another call for five subs
As it stands, there is no chance of the five sub rule being introduced in the Premier League, despite the majority of top-flight leagues across Europe having done so.
Klopp is a leading advocate for the rule change, and detailed its positive impact on the spectacle of the League Cup final.
“Five subs, great, absolutely great and we have to keep talking about that,” he said.
“The whole world is doing it and it helps football.
“The game we played against Chelsea was one of the most intense games that I ever saw, for 120 minutes, [and was] only possible because we had five changes.
“There’s no other chance to do that.
“And by the way, [it was the same] in games before as well, because that’s why these players still have kind of the power to do that, because we could change five times in the cup competitions.
“We have to discuss that until it happens, because it’s so necessary.”
Big things to come from Ibou
Finally, Klopp spoke about Ibrahima Konate‘s strong start to life at Liverpool, and detailed the factors behind his successful transition into a competitive squad on Merseyside.
“His quality helps obviously. He’s really good,” the manager said.
“He has all the skills he needs to be a good centre-half.
“And always like it is with young boys, especially when you are that skilled, then sometimes your concentration level drops a little bit here and there, because you are used to sorting the situation even when you are a little bit late in the decision-making.
“He can be so much better, but he is really good, so that helps.
“The other thing is that our centre-halves in between have a sensational relationship, absolutely sensational.
“So that helps each of them as well, they learn from each other and help each other. Because it is a very special position.”