Jürgen Klopp met with the media ahead of Liverpool's midweek matchup with Wolves at Anfield. The boss discussed a recent honor earned by Virgil van Dijk, the enormity of matches coming up on the schedule and the club keeping three consecutive clean sheets.
The Reds defender was recently named as part of FIFA's FIFPRO World 11 which is given to the best 11 players in the world from August 2021 through December 2022. It marks the third time van Dijk has been named to the list.
“I don't think he got in this team just because of his last four or five performances,” Klopp said. “It was because of [the] last year and I think that's fully and absolutely deserved. He obviously likes it a lot, I could see some reaction, so that's cool. He was there [at the awards]. [He] asked me if he can go there, yes of course, it's no problem... it's great. Once I was there, it's a nice event. So it's worth going.”
Due to Liverpool's 7th position on the table and the club's goal of moving up to 4th and earning a Champions League next season. Every point is precious. That's why Klopp was somewhat pleased with the draw at Crystal Palace. A home match with Wolves means 3 points are paramount and each successive match will be just as important, if not more so.
“It's a super important week, you don't have to make it smaller than it is, we cannot ignore that – why would I?,” Klopp asked. “We have two home games, tomorrow thank God only one... but yes, I would love to give the season a little push in this week, and we need results for that and to get a result you need good performances. Nothing I saw since the last game in training gave me the impression [that] we don't have a chance. The few sessions we had, [we] looked good. I know we all understand, players as well, so we have to give it a proper, proper, proper go in this game tomorrow night against a team [Wolves] we played more often than any other team I think this season.”
Liverpool have kept clean sheets for 3 EPL matches in a row. Of course, they let in 5 vs Real Madrid, but that's a different story. Klopp is pleased with the shutouts but admits there is still room for improvement.
“In between, we conceded five – we cannot ignore that completely, even when it was Real Madrid,” Klopp said. “Generally, the defending was absolutely OK. Most of the things are OK but we have to make sure we bring it all together to the next level. I love Ali (Alisson Becker) making saves but I would have no massive problem with him making no saves in the game – and not because he concedes so many but because they don't have a shot on target. There are different ways of defending. We can have a clean sheet and the goalie has 20 saves, and you can have a clean sheet and the goalie didn't see the ball, so that's a massive difference.”
Klopp hit the nail on the head when he said this was a big week for the club. Liverpool have a pair of games at Anfield starting with Wolves and they have played pretty well on their home pitch, for the most part, this year.
One of the key factors in this better spell of play, 3 straight EPL results and clean sheets, is the return of Virgil van Dijk from injury to bolster the defense and the strong play of Alisson between the pipes. Let's hope that play continues and the Reds can continue to climb the table.
“It’s a super important week, you don't have to make it smaller than it is, we cannot ignore that – why would I?
“Generally, the defending was absolutely OK. Most of the things are OK but we have to make sure we bring it all together to the next level. I love Ali (Alisson Becker) making saves but I would have no massive problem with him making no saves in the game”