Belfast Telegraph

Klopp draws positives from Liverpool's Swiss stalemate

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the bore draw in Switzerland will be of use to his players despite few positives to come from the Europa League stalemate in Sion.

A goalless draw earned the Reds the point they needed to top Group B but apart from a first start for 21-year-old left-back Brad Smith and the return from injury after four matches of playmaker Philippe Coutinho there were few positives.

Klopp has spoken of the desire to get more rhythm into the side, hence the reason he named a virtually full-strength team on a semi-frozen pitch, and while there was fluency or potency on show the German believes it can be helpful.

"You can use it always," Klopp said. "It was good for the rhythm but easy games you cannot use, you only have your result, and this was a difficult game.

"It was the first time we were together in a situation like this and I was really satisfied with the reaction of the team.

"It was not a game to make something special and take it to the next game. We go home, prepare for West Brom and try to use everything we can use.

"First of all I have to see [videos of] West Brom and then I will know more about what we can use [from Sion]."

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet kept a clean sheet but he was rarely tested.

He admits the performance was a long way from their best but said it was not for the lack of effort.

"Every time you put on the Liverpool shirt you want to win and you want to put in a performance that is worthy of playing for Liverpool FC," he said.

"The gaffer made that clear to us before the game as well. When you play away from home in the Europa League, first of all you have to do the ugly bits.

"With the conditions we kept a clean sheet and we finished top of the group, which is what we wanted, so we are very pleased because it puts us in a better position for the draw on Monday.

"I thought we dealt really well with it and we tried to play our football and not give the opponent a chance to play, so a clean sheet away from home is always good."

Sunday's visit of West Brom gives Liverpool a chance to improve on their poor home record which has seen them win just three times in seven matches, scoring just eight goals in front of their own fans.

The return of Coutinho from his hamstring problem will help that and after defeat at Newcastle a week ago it is imperative they bounce back against the Baggies, who have scored just four times on the road this season.

"We want to respond after the Newcastle game and we've got a very important fixture now on Sunday against West Bromwich Albion," he added.

Meanwhile, Klopp's FA Cup debut as Liverpool manager against Exeter will be screened live by the BBC on Friday, January 8.

The third-round clash between the League Two side and the seven-times FA Cup winners was one of the most appealing ties to be drawn on Monday, and now it will be on live terrestrial television with a 7.55pm kick-off time.

The pick of the all-Premier League ties, Tottenham v Leicester, will also be live on the BBC at 4pm on Sunday, January 10.

BT Sport will show the match between Aston Villa and Wycombe at 12.45pm on Saturday, January 9.

Manchester United's home clash against Sheffield United will then be live at 5.30pm on the same day on BT, and on Sunday the broadcaster will show the game between Chelsea and either Leyton Orient or Scunthorpe, depending on which of those teams wins their second-round replay.

Belfast Telegraph


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