EPL

Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool will show reaction to Atalanta defeat, I promise

By Sports Desk April 12, 2024

Jurgen Klopp has promised his Liverpool players will show a reaction to their shock 3-0 Europa League home defeat to Atalanta when they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

Liverpool’s hopes of ending Klopp’s reign with a showpiece European final in Dublin are in real jeopardy after Atalanta punished a lacklustre display to inflict the Reds’ first home defeat in 14 months.

The second leg of the quarter-final tie will be played in Bergamo next week, but before then Liverpool’s attention returns to the intense three-way fight at the top of the Premier League, and a match against Oliver Glasner’s Palace side.

Asked how he could ensure there would be no hangover from Thursday’s result going into Sunday, Klopp said: “First and foremost, I cannot ensure that, never could. But still, it’s the job I have to do.

“I don’t think it was a general low point but performance-wise it was a low point. But the really good thing about a really bad performance is you can play better. Start from there.

“This must feel bad and it does, so let the boys take it home, sleep on it and then come together and recover and go from there.

“On Saturday we will start preparing for Crystal Palace. We have to show a reaction, definitely, 100 per cent clear, but I cannot plan the reaction (straight) after the game…But we will show a reaction, I can promise.”

Klopp made six changes for Thursday’s game, with Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Kostas Tsimikas, Harvey Elliott, Cody Gakpo and Curtis Jones all coming into the side.

It was a first start since February for Jones, who has made two substitute appearances since injury, while Diogo Jota came off the bench for his first appearance of any kind in almost two months.

Long-term absentees Stefan Bajcetic and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among the substitutes, although Klopp said there was “no chance” of Alexander-Arnold ever playing and he had only been named in the squad because UEFA regulations allow him to select up to 23 players.

With no let up in the schedule and Liverpool still fighting on two fronts, Klopp is eager to get his squad back up to full fitness.

“There is no pressure (to manage the injured players’ returns), that’s just the situation,” he said.

“My job isn’t the easiest job in the world but it’s not the most difficult. But it’s about the players, you need to make sure you get them on the pitch and then it works out somehow.

“We’ve played different line-ups and played really good football and (on Thursday) we didn’t and that’s the reason we lost. That can be the headline. It didn’t work out and that’s absolutely fine and right.

“But we need them all and we need them all aggressive, fit, going for it, a bit angry and full of desire and not so much dealing with your own situation, ‘I need rhythm, I didn’t play for ages’ – try to avoid that.”

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