Break brought welcome respite for Liverpool players, says Klopp

Liverpool players celebrate their victory over Southampton. The first-ever Premier League mid-season break has pleased the club’s coach Jurgen Klopp. (AFP/File)
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Updated 15 February 2020

Break brought welcome respite for Liverpool players, says Klopp

  • Liverpool coach takes his players to bottom-placed Norwich on Saturday

LONDON: The first-ever Premier League mid-season break pleased Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp as it allowed the runaway leaders to rest their aches and pains following the hectic festive period.

The 52-year-old German takes his players to bottom-placed Norwich on Saturday holding a 22 point lead over two-time defending champions Manchester City.

Klopp said the break will have done his squad the world of good as he knew from his own playing experience.

“I was a player myself. When I look back it feels like I played through 80 percent of the time with pain,” he said at his eve of match press conference.

“Nobody appreciated that because I played bad so it didn’t help. Nobody asked then. It is completely normal for a professional football player to play through pain.

“After that long period in December-January, there was no player in the squad who had no pain. Everybody had something.”

Klopp — whose Champions League holders travel to Atletico Madrid next week in their last 16 first leg clash — has also been boosted by the return to fitness from hamstring injuries of Senegal attacker Sadio Mane and veteran James Milner. Sane has missed the last four matches while Milner has been out since January 5.

“Millie (Milner) and Sadio are back. When they are back you consider them immediately,” said Klopp.

“Apart from (Xherdan) Shaqiri, (Nathaniel) Clyne and (Paul) Glatzel, all the players are in training. We have some good options. Hopefully, it stays like this for the rest of the season.”

Klopp says Norwich may be struggling at the bottom — they are 7 points adrift of safety — but he is full of respect for their adventurous style of play.

“I really admire that Norwich stick to their principles. It’s really good football, super coaching,” Klopp said.

“You can see all the patterns on the pitch, all the movements — that’s from the training ground. They’ve caused 95 percent of all teams real problems.

“They’ve lost a lot of these games, that’s why they’re in the situation they are, but for me, on the outside, it looks like a club that really sticks together.”

 

 


Liverpool’s Mane sinks 10-man Chelsea, Son hits four in Spurs rout

Updated 20 September 2020

Liverpool’s Mane sinks 10-man Chelsea, Son hits four in Spurs rout

  • Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool exploited Chelsea’s frailties to win 2-0
  • Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen was sent off at the end of the first half for hauling down Mane

LONDON: Sadio Mane tormented Chelsea as the Liverpool forward struck twice after sparking Andreas Christensen’s dismissal in the champions’ 2-0 win, while Son Heung-min scored four as Tottenham crushed Southampton 5-2 on Sunday.
Mane was involved in the turning point at Stamford Bridge as the first clash between Premier League title contenders this season swung Liverpool’s way.
In first half stoppage-time, Jordan Henderson picked out Mane’s run behind Christensen and the Denmark defender responded by rugby-tackling the Senegal star to the ground.
Referee Paul Tierney initially booked Christensen, but VAR told him to consult the pitchside monitor and he changed his decision to a red card.
Mane grabbed his first goal of the season in the 50th minute as he met Roberto Firmino’s cross with a thumping header after eluding Reece James’ slack marking.
Mane was gifted his second goal as Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made a hash of trying to play out from the back, allowing the Liverpool forward to intercept and slot into the empty net.
It was the latest costly blunder from Kepa, who was dropped twice by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard last season despite his status as the world’s most expensive keeper.
Lampard will be relieved that Chelsea are reportedly close to signing Rennes’ Senegal international Edouard Mendy as he looks to replace Kepa.
“It was a clear mistake and Kepa accepted that,” Lampard said.
Thiago Alcantara made his Liverpool debut at half-time after his move from Bayern Munich, but the Spain midfielder conceded a 74th minute penalty with a foul on Timo Werner.
Alisson Becker came to Thiago’s rescue as he saved Jorginho’s spot-kick.
After their chaotic 4-3 win over Leeds on the opening weekend, this was a return to the kind of dominant display Liverpool produced so often en route to their first English title for 30 years last season.
“Chelsea were the dominant side without goals but then a massive game-changer which was good for us,” Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said.
“After the red card, the second half is a different game. We kept the ball rolling, let them run, scored the goals. Everybody had a hand in the result.”
While Chelsea have spent £200 million ($258 million) on new signings in a bid to close the gap on the champions, Liverpool remain streets ahead of the Blues at present.
“The red card changes the face of the game. I think it could be given or not,” Lampard said.
At St. Mary’s, Jose Mourinho hailed Son and Harry Kane after the pair destroyed Southampton.
Just 24 hours after Tottenham signed Gareth Bale, Son delivered a virtuoso display that showed Mourinho’s side already have plenty of firepower.
Bale has returned to Tottenham on a season-long loan from Real Madrid seven years after he left the north London club.
Danny Ings put Southampton ahead in the first half, but Son equalized before the break and scored three more in the second half, with each of his goals coming from Kane assists.
Kane, who hit the back of the net twice in the first half only to have them ruled out for offside, capped a swaggering display with his second goal of the season.
“Son was on fire and for me Harry Kane was the man of the match, what he did for the team,” said Mourinho, whose side had lost their league opener against Everton.
“With him dropping back and connecting the game between the lines for Sonny to attack, the space they created was a problem they couldn’t resolve.”
Neal Maupay’s quick-fire double inspired Brighton’s 3-0 win against Newcastle as the Seagulls claimed their first Premier League victory of the season.
Graham Potter’s side raced into a two-goal lead after just seven minutes at St. James’ Park thanks to the brace from French striker Maupay.
Aaron Connolly grabbed the third for Brighton, who had Yves Bissouma sent off after his raised boot caught Jamal Lewis in the face.