Belfast Telegraph

Jurgen Klopp not afraid to let rip at Liverpool players as he runs out of patience after West Ham defeat

By Mark Ogden

The one certainty of Jurgen Klopp's three months with Liverpool is that he struggles to hide his emotions. Whether it is his touchline spats with Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce, the blunt assessment of his team's performance in losing 2-0 to West Ham on Saturday or the way he screws, unscrews and then plays with the water bottle that is his constant companion during press conferences, the German is an open book and, most probably, a psychologist's dream.

Klopp's players have clearly still to work out their relatively new manager, however, and they travel to Stoke City for tonight's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg wondering, perhaps, whether to brace themselves for another post-match explosion if the former Borussia Dortmund coach is underwhelmed by events.

Klopp has gone for the arm-round-the-shoulder approach and the kick-up-the-backside routine during his brief time at Anfield and that inconsistency has been reflected in the team's results - winning away at Manchester City and Chelsea, but losing at Newcastle United, Watford and West Ham.

While he admits that his patience with his players is not without limits, Klopp concedes that he must do it again ahead of the trip to the Potters.

"Yes, of course (my patience has a limit), always, but I build it up again, so it's not that I lose it forever," said Klopp.

"I always tell the players the truth. If I'm satisfied in what I'm seeing, then I'm not interested in the result, but after West Ham, I really wasn't satisfied because it was not enough, so we had a talk about it and now we have to take the next chance against Stoke.

"At West Ham, we were not really concentrated and not 100 per cent in our will in the situations around the two goals. We were too passive and that is not okay."

Klopp must do without the injured Jordan Henderson against Mark Hughes' team, with the manager also confirming that injury-ravaged striker Daniel Sturridge has suffered a minor setback in his rehabilitation from a hamstring problem.

"I will pick him (Sturridge) when he is ready, said Klopp.

"I will not hold him back, but what Daniel has to do is hard work to be prepared for the things we do in a football game."

Liverpool's injury problems suggest that they travel to Stoke as underdogs against a team who have beaten Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United on home turf this season.

Although Liverpool emerged from the Britannia with a 1-0 victory on the opening weekend of this campaign, wounds remain raw from the 6-1 defeat at the same venue last May and Klopp admits it would be damaging to make his players watch that game in preparation.

"I'm not crazy," Klopp said.

"Why should I show them such a bad day? I don't think that Ronald Koeman will show his team (our 6-1 victory) the next time before we play Southampton and say, 'Look, this is what they are able to do'.

"If it was the same team and it was a relevance in this way I could show it, we did that when we played Southampton twice in a short space of time because then it made sense.

"But in the 6-1 defeat to Stoke, there was no (Xherdan) Shaqiri, no Bojan, (Marko) Arnautovic was there, there was no Joselu and here the players are different, so it's not interesting. Things like this happen in the world of football."

Stoke's emergence under Hughes this season has impressed Klopp, however, and he believes that they pose a difficult obstacle for Liverpool if they are to reach Wembley.

"I don't know Mark Hughes, I have never met him, but he has done a very good job at Stoke with their scouting and style of play," Klopp said.

"I know the team very well because many of the players played in Germany.

"It is rare to play in any semi-final against a team who cannot play football, so we know it will be difficult.

"This is a cup competition, though, and it would be a waste of time to be in it and not try to win it.

"Only one team can have that luck, but I don't just want to get to the final, I want to win it."

Liverpool, meanwhile, are set to complete the £5.1m signing of Red Star Belgrade midfielder Marko Grujic (pictured) before loaning the 19-year-old back to the Serbian club until the end of this season.

Belfast Telegraph


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