Agitated Klopp snaps back at reporter’s claim about Liverpool trait he insists is not an issue

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Credit: Alamy
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Credit: Alamy

Jurgen Klopp did not take kindly to one reporter’s question about his players, while the Liverpool boss still found time to have those at a press conference cracking up despite his side’s ongoing struggles.

Liverpool have no time to lick their wounds following a humbling 2-1 defeat to Leeds United on Saturday night. The Reds travel to Naples to face Napoli on Tuesday night. Qualification to the Champions League knockout rounds is assured for both teams, with only top spot left to fight for.

To overhaul Napoli, Liverpool must win by at least four clear goals. That would be a difficult task at the best of times, though now looks a near impossibility.

Indeed, the Reds are in the midst of a startling decline that sees them eight points off fourth spot in the Premier League.

By contrast, Napoli are European football’s in-form team, with Luciano Spalletti’s side winning 14 straight games across all competitions.

Speaking in a press conference on Monday afternoon, Klopp was asked about his team selection for the Napoli clash.

“To be perfectly honest it’s a pretty quick turnaround after Leeds so not fully aware of situation about players [their fitness levels],” said Klopp.

“We don’t want to take risks but you know Napoli are in incredible shape and play incredible football, maybe the team in form in Europe at moment. It’s not game for massive rotation.”

Injury absentee could start

Klopp was asked specifically about the status of centre-back pair Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate.

The German confirmed Matip is not yet ready to return to the squad, though hinted Konate has been progressing well and could start in Naples.

“It’s very good to have him back,” Klopp said of Konate. “He’s ready for the squad now.

“He trained yesterday completely normal. He’s had eight or nine days [in normal training]. That’s obviously very good. He is an option.”

When asked by The Times’ Paul Joyce whether it’s fair comment to say Liverpool are a team in decline, Klopp stressed October is not the time to make those judgements.

“We all do our job in public, the judgement of this is maybe later on in the season,” replied Klopp.

“At the moment it’s not 100 percent fair to judge the team because we haven’t had them all available, we’re missing top quality up front (Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota).

“Even if it’s unfair to judge Liverpool right now, it’s fine. It’s normal to ask these questions.

“Arsenal and Man City will have to answer those questions later on. We are all out there to be judged, manager, players, that’s how it is. But I don’t think about it.”

Klopp hasn’t lost his sense of humour

Despite his side’s struggles, Klopp still found time to have those in attendance cracking up.

Klopp claimed he woke up in the night thinking about one of Leeds’ goals, and reporter Carl Markham asked if that’s a common occurrence this season given Liverpool’s leaky defence.

“No, no,” retorted Klopp. “I’m 55 so I go a couple of times per night on the toilet anyway!”

Finally, Klopp was quizzed on what’s the most important thing he wants to see from his side that will help them emerge from their struggles.

Liverpool boss turns tables on reporter

A rather bemused looking Klopp replied: “We have to fight! I don’t want to see back-heels, bicycle kicks.

“We just have to fight, but Napoli will too. We’ve to be the opponent [other teams] don’t want to face but the Napoli is quite high. We have to give them a knock.”

Markham claimed he knew Klopp would say ‘fight’, but questioned what he can do to ensure he gets it from the players when suggesting there’s been times this season when Liverpool haven’t given their all.

Klopp then turned the tables on Markham, asking him to name one example this season where that was the case.

The reporter hesitated before suggesting the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest was perhaps one example, something that drew a bewildered laugh from Klopp.

“That’s our life, again, you’re all right and I’m wrong,” replied a visibly frustrated Klopp.

“To say we didn’t fight against Forest is actually… still not right. You lose a game and that’s how it is – people tell you you didn’t try hard enough.

“We ran against a deep defending wall. We conceded a completely unnecessary goal and yes, we could’ve played better, we could’ve done a lot of things better.

“But the boys fought and it wasn’t a game where you can outrun the opponent because you have the ball all the time.

“The fight is there.”

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