Conte explains what Klopp, Liverpool tenure proves about example Tottenham should follow; issues injury updates

Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte Tottenham v Liverpool December 2019 Credit: Alamy
Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte Tottenham v Liverpool December 2019 Credit: Alamy

Antonio Conte considers the union between Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp as an example to follow, explaining how his opposite number for Sunday’s Tottenham Hotspur match has gone about improving his club.

Tottenham welcome Liverpool to north London on Sunday in what looks an intriguing game. Conte’s side go into it six places above the Reds in the Premier League table. They have gained 10 more points than Liverpool so far, from one more game.

Up on Merseyside, there has been some pressure building. Klopp has not been able to inspire the same kind of form Liverpool would usually expect this season.

Therefore, perhaps Tottenham could have the advantage on this occasion. However, despite the current doubts about Klopp and Liverpool, Conte still thinks they have shown a good example of how to stick with a manager and back them.

Conte told a press conference of Klopp: “The relationship is normal. His story speaks of him, he has changed Liverpool.

“I remember very well, Liverpool didn’t win for a long period and he needed four years to bring Liverpool to be able to win again. This shows that it is important for a coach to have time.

“If people don’t know about football, they think that the story of this coach is a winner, it is not so. Jurgen shows that through the work and the matches and the transfer market that he improved Liverpool a lot and brought them to the top.

“For sure I can speak well about Jurgen and Liverpool and the players. They are definitely a good example for us.”

Conte’s comments are interesting when put in the perspective of his own situation. His future with Tottenham is unclear as he celebrates one year in his head coach role with the club.

Known for being a demanding manager in the transfer market, for example, he will want assurances over the project Spurs are building if he is to commit beyond this season.

For now, he must focus on their upcoming fixtures, starting with the Liverpool match. Spurs will be without some important players for it, though.

Conte explained: “We have these injuries and I can confirm Richarlison is not available for the game.

“It is the same for [Cristian] Romero but [Rodrigo] Bentancur is much better. Today he was part of the training session. It was the same for [Dejan] Kulusevski, today he had half training session with us.

“The problem is Lucas Moura is having some different faces for his pain in his tendon. Today he was really bad and he said to me he was really worried for this but I ask of him to try to be available because we need. Also Sonny [Heung-min] you know is having now surgery.”

Conte explains Bentancur belief

One of the players Conte mentioned, Bentancur, was the subject of further discussion in the press conference.

The midfielder has been much better for Tottenham than he was for Juventus since his January 2021 transfer. Conte, though, thinks he can reach an even higher status.

The Italian added: “Rodrigo has only one problem in my opinion. He has the real possibility to be really, really top, top, but you know that to become a top player you need to will it and to decide this.

“In the last period I think that Rodrigo has been playing in an outstanding way, and he’s a player that is giving us a lot on the pitch, outside the pitch, and we are talking about a player that is showing the possibility to be one of the top, top midfielders, one of the best midfielders in the world.

“But you know to be a good player and then the top that is the difficulty. When you are medium to become good is not so difficult. The difference is to be good to top.

“I think he has everything and has the great potential to be a top, top midfielder. For this reason I push him. I push him every day, during the training sessions because he has this quality to become. Also Pierre Hojbjerg, he is making great progress if you compare last season and this season.”

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