Jürgen Klopp met with the media ahead of Liverpool's match against Leicester City tomorrow at Anfield. Kick-off is at 20:00 GMT and is the Reds' second match after the World Cup break. The Boss had a lot to talk about.
First, he talked about Liverpool's splashy signing of Dutch forward Cody Gakpo. Then, he gave an update on squad fitness. Also, he addressed Friday's opponent, Leicester City, known to their supporters as the Foxes. He finally addressed Gakpo's potential impact on the future of Roberto Firmino at the club.
News broke earlier in the week that the Reds have signed forward Cody Gakpo from Dutch powerhouse side, PSV Eindhoven. It is Liverpool's first move in the January transfer window. Since it isn't January yet, Gakpo isn't available for the Leicester match. Klopp said that he probably won't be available for the January 2nd match against Brentford either.
On Gakpo, the Boss said, “The answer is pretty easy, it's obvious because he's a really, really, really good player, so the package is really interesting. The age he is in, the potential he shows, or has, and the quality he showed already in Holland and with the national team as well, so it makes him a really, really interesting player. And that's why we were very interested to get him in and I'm really happy that we could do it.”
Klopp speculated on when he thought Gakpo would be able to join the Reds for game action. He said, “What I heard now, we are obviously very early, which is good, but there might be a chance for Brentford – but I think not really, to be honest. Because obviously the first of January is a Bank Holiday and then all the papers, which we don't have to sign but some other people, will have to be signed on the 2nd until lunchtime. I'm not too positive that that will happen but we will not rush it anyway. So, probably Wolves.
Klopp gave an update on his squad's fitness ahead of tomorrow's match. The good news is that there is no one new on the injury list, and Ibrahima Konate will be available for Leicester City. The French defender missed the Aston Villa match, presumably to get a little more rest after France's run to the World Cup final.
On Konate the Boss said, “He is now training with us, he will be available now as well. So, positive for this moment but we know it will be a tough game.”
Klopp gave his assessment of Friday's opponent at Anfield. Leicester City struggled to start the Premier League season but found some form in the games just before the World Cup break. He compared the Foxes' start of the season to the Reds', “Our start was not brilliant so I didn't have a more detailed look at the Leicester start, but I realised they didn't collect a lot of points but found a way into the league as well. And yeah, great results before the break obviously.”
One difference between the two teams was their first game out of the World Cup break. Liverpool looked sharp and ready for action in a 3-1 win at Aston Villa. Leicester City got smashed at home 3-0 against Newcastle.
Klopp said, “Now, for whatever reason, I don't know exactly, we watched that game now obviously, I saw it but I cannot 100 per cent know or explain why things happened. Of course Maddison is a big miss, that's clear, but apart from that they had a really strong side but Newcastle are just a really good team, that's obvious as well.”
Klopp got out in front of a lot of issues in his press conference today. I like that he backed both Firmino and Núñez publicly, at a crucial time for both players. It was also great to hear the Boss's thoughts on the arrival of Cody Gakpo.
Keep it tuned into LFC Globe for coverage of tomorrow's match. Kick-off is at 20:00 GMT from the legendary Anfield.
Two of the key quotes during the press conference focused on two players who have had questions raised about them recently. First, the manager addressed the rumors surrounding Roberto Firmino’s future with the club. Some experts have said that Cody Gakpo’s arrival was the beginning of the end for Firmino with the Reds."
Klopp disagrees, “No, no. Not for me, absolutely not. We had talks with Bobby and I can say from my point of view I want him definitely to stay. No impact. If you mean by impact that Bobby might [move on]? You have to ask Bobby about that, but from my point of view, no.”
Next, Klopp addressed the continuing questions surrounding Darwin Núñez’s development with the club. People in some circles have suggested that the Reds’ new striker hasn’t been scoring enough. Klopp addressed Núñez’s overall development.
He said, “The only problem is we talk every day pretty much about it, or you get judged every day and sometimes things need a little bit of time but it can go [quickly] in football. You make an incredible goal and stuff like this and then all of a sudden you come down. I saw so many top-class strikers in moments where the world was judging them and thought, ‘I am not sure that will happen again.’ If you have quality and the right attitude, everything will be fine – and that’s the case with him.