Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool have bottle to keep title tilt on course: Klopp


No problem: Jurgen Klopp says he is not worried by Mo Salah’s lack of goals
No problem: Jurgen Klopp says he is not worried by Mo Salah’s lack of goals

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he has "no bad feelings" about Burnley despite a fractious encounter the last time they met.

Following the 3-1 win at Turf Moor in early December, Klopp was outspoken in his criticism of the Clarets' physical approach which left defender Joe Gomez with a fractured leg from which he has still not recovered.

He described the manner of Burnley's tackling as being like 10-pin bowling "because you get the player as well".

"Six or seven yards and then (slide) - these times are over. Somebody has to tell you to stop doing it, make two more steps and make a normal challenge," he said at the time.

It sparked a row with Sean Dyche, a manager Klopp admires for the work he has done at Turf Moor, but the Reds boss said that had all now been forgotten.

"There is nothing to say about that any more," Klopp said. "I say what I said at the time, nearly three months ago.

"We are human beings, we react in the moment. I made a lot of mistakes in my life, and most of the time I regret them.

"For me, the game is a special situation and in different circumstances, you can imagine what is said in and around the game.

"From my point of view, I don't think there is anything to regret but I'm not sure. I have no bad feelings about that game because of something which happened in the past.

"It was an injury, it happened then and he (Gomez) is still not playing. That is all you can say."

For the first time since December Liverpool have surrendered the title initiative to Manchester City, who are a point ahead, and who play tonight at home to Watford.

Klopp sees no reason to change.

"We never thought about what the other teams were doing. The plan is clear: we have to win football games," he added.

"City play (tonight) so we will know the result before we start so there is no reason to make a big fuss. We are in a position we like to be in, it is not a problem. We wanted to be in a position to fight for the top spot in the league and we are still in it and that is all we need to be positive and optimistic.

"Our only problem this weekend is Burnley and that is enough."

Forward Mo Salah is still waiting to score his 50th league goal for the club. If he manages the feat tomorrow he will equal Alan Shearer's record of achieving it for a single club in 66 matches.

He missed a couple of chances against Everton he would probably have taken last season but Klopp is unconcerned.

"We didn't really speak about it or whatever because it's completely normal," he said.

"Of course, when you are a striker or offensive player and you have chances in the game, you want to score with them - that's clear.

"But as a manager, I'm more than used to that players don't score all the time. That's how it is.

"He has an unbelievable record. His goals brought us where we are - not only (his goals), but it was a big part of it."

•Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's return to competitive action after 11 months out with a knee injury ended prematurely.

The England international was scheduled to play 45 minutes in the under-23s' Premier League 2 match at Derby but was taken off four minutes before half-time as a precaution.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had been holding his right hamstring a few minutes earlier and Liverpool were not prepared to take any risks in his return from serious knee ligament damage sustained last April.

The 25-year-old had shown some nice touches, especially one low crossfield ball to the left wing with the outside of his right foot and another 50-yard diagonal with his left.

Having been taken off just before the break, he took the five-minute walk back to the changing rooms with a physio during which time he happily posed for photographs with fans.

When asked how he was, Oxlade-Chamberlain said: "Yeah, all good."

Liverpool vs Burnley

Premier League:

Anfield, tomorrow, 12.00pm

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