Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool v Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp certain Reds can blast Gunners

By Ian Herbert

Jurgen Klopp has marked his most testing week as Liverpool manager by declaring that progress is more important than results and his players must not be obsessed with the outcome as they play Arsenal at Anfield tonight.

The German concluded his first three months in charge of the Reds this week - a period in which he has struggled to rediscover the form which delivered the peak 4-1 and 3-1 autumn wins at Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.

But while admitting that victory over Arsene Wenger's side, and Louis van Gaal's Manchester United on Sunday, would "change the situation" in Liverpool's season, he insisted it was presently more important for the side to "follow their way" than win.

"What we have to do is think first of all about the performance and not about the result," said Klopp, who yesterday added loan signing Steven Caulker to his defensive ranks.

"If we have the chance to play our best football against Arsenal, we should do it.

"We should really try and not focus from the first second on the result. We should play free football, defend lively with a lot of passion and have the best understanding in offence."

Klopp finds himself in the rare and enviable position of having time on his side, at a club whose supporters were desperate to see him hired and whose American owners are convinced he is their man.

However, he insisted that he always takes the longer view, because to do otherwise is psychologically crippling for any squad.

"I always feel like I have time," he said. "Only at the end of the season (do) I feel like I have none.

"I have only one understanding of development and of making success, and that's by going step by step. The result is almost always a result of the performance; sometimes it's not.

"You can defend like a handball team and score one goal and win the game - you have three points more but you cannot use it.

"That's what we did in a few games and then we had a few problems and we can't make step after step after step. That's what we have to accept in this situation."

Klopp also revealed his defensive injury crisis has cleared a little.

He expects Kolo Toure and possibly Mamadou Sakho to play in the middle of his defence against Arsenal tonight, meaning the Reds may not have to deploy Lucas Leiva as a makeshift centre-back.

Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren are still sidelined with hamstring injuries, although the latter could return to the fold for the clash against United.

The scenario is still more positive for Klopp, who was facing up to the possibility of tackling Wenger's high-flying Gunners - they are currently top of the Premier League - without any recognised centre-backs a few days ago.

"The situation now is better than it was two or three days before," Klopp revealed.

"I think Kolo will be available. Mama wants to be available, hopefully we can use him. We will see.

"Martin is still a few weeks away, Dejan feels good but it's close.

"There will be a moment when we have to decide if it's a risk or if it's a risk we could try or not, but it's not a moment for this, we have to wait."

Belfast Telegraph


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