Jurgen Klopp sat with the media in his pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool’s next league game against Manchester United at Old Trafford this Sunday.
The Reds returned to action on Tuesday after a 10-day break and got a credible 0-0 draw at home to Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.
Now, the attention turns towards the title race and an opportunity to send a clear message to their rivals by getting a positive result away at United.
Currently, Klopp’s men are second in the table on goal difference, having played a game less. Funnily enough, this game is the one they have in hand as Manchester City engage themselves in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea.
During the press conference, the German talked about the importance of the game, the resurgence of United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and much more.
Here’s what the gaffer had to say:
ON FABINHO AND VAN DIJK
Virgil van Dijk was suspended for the Bayern game and Fabinho stepped in at centre-back on Tuesday. The Brazilian did more than a decent job to nullify the threat of Robert Lewandowski.
The Dutchman will be back for this game and Klopp had his say on both players:
“It’s brilliant to have him (Fabinho) as an option for both positions. Unbelievably valuable player for us. He helps us a lot. We will use him most of the time in midfield.”
On Virgil van Dijk return:
“We didn’t miss him as much as some expected. We defended so well as a unit. It’s very good to have Virgil back. First time in many weeks that we have a decision to make in terms of selection.”
ON FACING UNITED AND THEIR RESURGENCE UNDER OLE
When Liverpool last faced Manchester United two months back, the Red Devils were at their lowest point under Jose Mourinho.
As a result, the Reds steamrolled past their rivals at Anfield and surged towards the top of the table.
Since the arrival of Solskjaer, United are yet to lose a league game and look a different proposition.
Klopp had his say on their resurgence and what it takes to face them:
“He (Solskjaer) came in and found exactly the right words. I am really happy for him that he got this opportunity to show his quality. He brought in the things that Sir Alex Ferguson stood for. It makes them a threat again and back on track.”
On the game:
“It’s a big one. They are in a good moment, physically strong, defend and attack well. Full of confidence. We will try everything to get a result there.”
ON INJURY UPDATES
Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren have been missing for quite a long time now. Klopp updated their status along with other players who joined the training this week.
“Lovren and Gomez out, all the rest in training. Brewster in little parts of training, Ox in bigger parts but still not ready. Usually around this time I get a message to say that someone is ill!”
ON TITLE RACE AND RIVALS WANTING TO STOP LIVERPOOL
It has been pretty clear that rivals, namely Manchester United and Everton want Liverpool to not win the league. The Reds face one of them this Sunday.
Klopp talked about the title race and the determination of their rivals:
“I think for Man United it is the same (on being successful). If they have as a little plus that with three points against us we cannot be champions or whatever, I don’t know if it is like that, if it is the case.
“Everton have their own situation and I don’t think they think too much about our title chances, they have to sort their own situation just as all of us have to do.”