EPL

Klopp 'excited' by Liverpool performances after battling to Newcastle win

By Sports Desk April 30, 2022

Jurgen Klopp is "very excited" about Liverpool's performances after the Reds earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Newcastle United.

Naby Keita's first-half goal saw Liverpool claim a vital win at St James' Park on Saturday, with the Reds maintaining their charge for the Premier League title having picked up 40 points from the last 42 available to them in the competition.

Having won the EFL Cup, reached the FA Cup final and beaten Villarreal 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals, Liverpool remain in the running for a historic quadruple going into the final weeks of the campaign.

While thrilled by Liverpool's recent displays, Klopp was not willing to discuss his side's hopes of winning four pieces of silverware as he highlighted the difficult nature of their schedule.

"I'm very excited, but not because of the prospect of winning something, because I never understood that," Klopp said at his post-match news conference.

"It's like, say we are five points ahead in the league, for example, and then you have four games to play and nearly all the time people ask you, 'now it's here... [are you] looking forward to...' No, no, no, you are just concerned about winning the next game.

"I am not smart enough to try two things at the same time. When we finished the game, our analyst was in the dressing room and I asked him how Villarreal is playing because they play now as well  they were 2-1 down, made a few changes line-up wise – so that's our life. 

"We are excited. I love this football team and we go into the next [game] and try to be as good as possible, but that's it.

"It’s a good situation, but for us the number of games we still have to play is a lot; with or without the Champions League final it's a lot, so we should better win everything because otherwise it could be tricky."

Liverpool have won 42 matches in all competitions this season – only three English top-flight clubs have ever won more in a single campaign: Everton (43 in 1984-85), Manchester City (44 in 2017-18, 47 in 2020-21, 50 in 2018-19) and Manchester United (44 in 2008-09).

The Reds have also kept 21 clean sheets in this season's Premier League – more than any other side – while only in 2005-06 (22) have they recorded more shutouts in a single Premier League campaign.

Despite Klopp making five changes to his starting line-up, the Reds produced another disciplined defensive display to remain in the hunt for their 20th English top-flight title, and Klopp was keen to praise midfielder James Milner for his contribution to a professional performance.

"He was outstanding. Millie is incredibly important for us," Klopp added. "That's very important, if you talk about the dressing room, he's very helpful there.

"But on the pitch as well, he played a super game. I don't want to take anything away from him, but I liked Naby's performance as well. The boys were on fire, we played football, we kept the ball in the right moments. 

"We struggled around the second-ball fights, but we knew before the game there's no way – that I know at least – to defend them 100 per cent. So, it was tricky, it's not cool to defend. But, apart from that I really loved the game. James was a massive part of it."

Liverpool travel to Villarreal on Tuesday as they look to secure a third Champions League final appearance since Klopp arrived at Anfield in 2015.

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