Monday, September 20, 2021

Klopp hopes FA Cup revives spluttering Reds

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Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS /

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool will recover from a nightmare run at the start of 2017 when they face Championship club Wolves in the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield on Saturday.

A gruelling schedule of 10 fixtures, starting with the New Year’s Eve victory over Manchester City, has seen Liverpool collect only one other win, in the third round FA Cup replay at League Two Plymouth Argyle.

The latest setback, defeat in the League Cup semi-final against Southampton on Wednesday, removed one potential trophy from Klopp’s sights but the German insisted there would be no hangover from the two-legged defeat when they take on Wolves.

“No. Absolutely not,” said Klopp. “If we doubt the way we are after the little problems we’ve had now, it would be a really strange thing.

“We don’t have the points we want. We don’t have the results we want. That’s not a problem. That’s how it is.

“But we know what we have to do. We know what we want to do. We know about the football we want to play, so that’s all good.”

Liverpool have won English football’s most prestigious cup competition seven times, but the last success came 11 years ago, and Klopp is likely to persist with his strategy of rotating his squad for cup fixtures.

A number of young, emerging players are in contention, alongside fringe veterans such as Brazilian Lucas Leiva.

Klopp must also weigh up whether to use Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho, who started in the Plymouth replay, in the week that the forward signed a new five-year deal that makes him the highest-paid player in Liverpool history.

“Two sides made a big statement, the club and Phil,” said Klopp of the new contract.

“Obviously, everybody in the world would like to have him in their team. But he wants to stay here.

“For us, that’s unbelievably important. He’s not the only player we want to keep, but you write more about it than we could say about it, that everybody wanted him and whatever.

“That’s obviously true because nobody in football is that blind that they cannot see what his qualities are.

“We will carry on in this way with the players that we want to keep and all that stuff.”

– History –
Four-time FA Cup winners Wolves already have a Premier League scalp on their record having beaten Stoke in round three and manager Paul Lambert says they can play without pressure at Anfield.

“We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. We go up against a great team and a great club, with the history and everything attached to it. But in one given game, you can win,” said Lambert, who is considering several changes to his team.

“Whatever XI I put on the pitch…we’ll be ready. We’ll be competitive and we’ll be trying to win.

“It doesn’t matter to me who plays for them, I expect us to go up there and give a good account of ourselves.

“The way Jurgen Klopp’s got them going, I know they’ve mixed and matched in the cup and they’re 10 points behind Chelsea…they’re still top players.

“He’s got the place bouncing. It’s vibrant, all the usual stuff that Jurgen does.

“It’s a game I can’t wait for. We’ve got Liverpool, then Barnsley and Burton and the league is always your biggest thing because we’re trying to get out of the league.

“But the cup is a brilliant thing to go and play in. We’ve got almost 9,000 people coming up. We’ll be competitive.”

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