EPL

Liverpool refreshed and raring to go, says boss Jurgen Klopp

By Sports Desk January 20, 2024

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his team have returned refreshed from their mini-break and are ready to push on in the Premier League title race.

They returned to training on Wednesday – a week after their last game – and head to Bournemouth looking to extend their advantage at the top to five points.

While they will still be missing talisman Mohamed Salah, who is at the Africa Cup of Nations, and are waiting for the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Dominik Szoboszlai to return from injury, Klopp believes everyone benefited from a break from the intensity of the Premier League.

“Friday was the third session since we are back and you could see it was really important to everybody, for everybody,” he said.

“As much as they like going on holiday, the thing they like most is actually playing football and that’s really cool to see.

“Nobody wanted to have three or four weeks, we are in the middle of a season (and) we love what happened so far.

“We are looking forward to what’s coming up, but these four days were just top class. We had a break and now we can go for the rest of the season.”

Victory at the Vitality Stadium would bring up 22 points away from home, just one short of their previous campaign, and Liverpool are already 16 points ahead of where they were at this point last season.

However, Bournemouth are one of the top flight’s form teams with six wins and a draw from their last eight league matches and have not lost at home in the league since October 21 after new manager Adoni Iraola turned things around after just one win in their first 11 matches.

“When you don’t play them at the weekend I really have time to admire what he (Iraola) is doing there,” said Klopp.

“They turned it around – that’s real coaching – and he found a way to set this team up.

“It will be a difficult game, but I don’t think they are now preparing the game against us and thinking, ‘Thank God Liverpool is coming’ because we feel good as well.”

Part of Bournemouth’s recent success is the contribution from former Liverpool forward Dominic Solanke, who has eight goals in as many league appearances, and 12 in 19 top-flight league games so far after just one in 21 league games for the Reds.

“He made the absolute right decision to go,” said Klopp.

“He went the hard way, trying here, realising, ‘Maybe a bit too early’ and then going to Bournemouth.”

Liverpool winger Luis Diaz is one goal away from recording his best scoring campaign (six) since joining in January 2022.

After going through the trauma of having his parents kidnapped in his native Colombia, he was reunited with his family for Christmas on Merseyside and Klopp has seen a change in the winger’s demeanour.

“After after the most challenging time of his life, which nobody is prepared for, he’s back. You can see it in each training session it’s different,” said Klopp.

“He cannot not smile when he is on the ball. There were a few weeks where I missed that a little bit, but the smile is back.”

Related items

  • Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive

    Dethroned Italian champions Napoli's hopes of playing European football next season are hanging by a thread after they played out a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A on Friday.

    Napoli took the lead in the eighth minute through defender Amir Rrahmani, who nodded home a corner by Matteo Politano.

    Cristiano Biraghi levelled for Fiorentina in the 40th minute from a free-kick, before M'Bala Nzola put the hosts in front two minutes later when he fired a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

    Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia responded with another stunning free-kick early in the second half to rescue a point for his team.

    Eighth-placed Fiorentina, on 54 points and with a game in hand, are five points behind Lazio in seventh.

    They can still earn a Europa League spot either by leapfrogging the Rome side or by winning the Europa Conference League final in which they face Greece's Olympiakos on May 29.

    Ninth-placed Napoli, on 52 points, still have a slim chance of making the Europa Conference League playoffs.

    Data Debrief

    Fiorentina left-back Biraghi has now scored six goals from direct free-kicks since the start of 2021-22, which is behind only James Ward-Prowse (seven) - now of West Ham and formerly of Southampton - as the most across Europe's top five leagues in that period.

    Kvaratskhelia also levelled via a direct free-kick, making this the first Serie A match in which both teams scored via that route since Fiorentina against Lazio in April 2018 (Jordan Veretout and Luis Alberto in that case).

  • Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United

    Southampton saw off West Brom 3-1 at St Mary's on Friday to set up a Championship play-off final showdown with Leeds United.

    Leeds thumped Norwich City 4-0 at Elland Road 24 hours earlier to book their place at Wembley, where Southampton now await on May 26.

    The first leg between the Saints and West Brom finished goalless - just like the other semi-final - but the home side's quality told in the end.

    Russell Martin's side dominated the first-half possession, with David Brooks going closest to scoring with a shot that hit the outside of the post.

    Southampton made the breakthrough via a powerful Will Smallbone finish four minutes into the second half after Gray Diangana lost possession.

    Darnell Furlong had a shot helped over by Alex McCarthy, while David Brooks - who assisted the opener - had a strong penalty appeal rejected.

    Southampton remained in control, though, and Adam Armstrong scored a second with a shot through Furlong's legs and past Alex Palmer.

    Armstrong's second goal arrived from the penalty spot in the 86th minute after Tom Fellows fouled Ryan Manning in the box, rendering Cedric Kipre's late header a mere consolation.

  • Marc Skinner signs Manchester United Women contract extension Marc Skinner signs Manchester United Women contract extension

    Marc Skinner has signed a one-year contract extension as Manchester United Women head coach with the option of a further 12 months.

    The 41-year-old guided United to their first major silverware last weekend with victory over Tottenham in the Women's FA Cup final.

    United are fifth in the Women's Super League with one game to go - a massive drop on last term's runners-up finish - but Skinner will stay on.

    "It's an honour to extend my stay at Manchester United," Skinner, who was appointed in 2021, told United's official website after the news was confirmed on Friday. 

    "I've always felt at home here, with our excellent players, staff, and fans.

    "Being able to secure the team's first major trophy at Wembley was a real career highlight for me and another sign of our continued growth, on and off the field."

    United conclude their campaign on Saturday against Chelsea, who lead Manchester City on goal difference entering the final day.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.