Jürgen Klopp met with the media at Liverpool's AXA Training Centre on Friday ahead of Sunday afternoon's match against Tottenham. Kick-off from London is at 16:30 GMT from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London.
The manager talked about the availability of Jordan Henderson and James Milner, Darwin Núñez's progress, and the importance of Sunday's match. He wrapped up the presser by touching on the Reds' 2-0 win against Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
According to Klopp, after missing the midweek game against Napoli, Jordan Henderson will be available for Sunday's match. However, James Milner will not be, due to a concussion suffered in the same match.
He said, “So, Hendo, yes, he's available. He trained yesterday completely normal so should be fine. He had a little thing but serious enough to not be involved in the last game."
The boss then confirmed Milner would miss out, “When you go through a concussion protocol you are not available for the next game because you have to go through different stages.”
When he was asked about Darwin Núñez's performance midweek, Klopp had some nice things to say. As well as, the Uruguayan's improvement over the course of the season. He said,” Big steps and still space for improvement because the boy is an incredible package.”
The Boss was particularly fond of Darwin's work against Napoli, “He came on and didn't play extremely long but was involved in both goals, which is good. So, big steps, absolutely.”
The Reds' manager talked extensively about this weekend's opponent. He characterised the match as a “massive game” one that felt like a Champions League game during the Premier League season. This seems to bode well since the Reds have been playing much better in the Champions League.
Klopp said, “ A big game for us, a massive game for us. Difficult as well. Spurs away. I didn't count now the points distance between us and them but we cannot be picky with opponents and games and where we want to get points – we have to go for it, definitely.”
Later on, he talked about his team's consistency in the face of Tottenham manager Antonio Conte's system. He pointed out, “There are no friendly games against them, Antonio is on his toes on the sideline, the players are in challenges and all these kinds of things. So it will be a tough one but that's what we actually all want. It's like a Champions League game in the Premier League, and that's how we will approach it.”
The Boss had some funny quotes regarding his team's performance against Napoli on Tuesday night. Overall he was complimentary of the team's clean sheet but, he had an interesting way of getting there. I think maybe these quotes mean something different in Klopp's native German.
Klopp mused, “ This game didn't look for a second like a dead rubber. It's margins, it's margins. We didn't concede a goal in that game for, what was it, an armpit?” He continued, “The difference between not conceding or conceding is sometimes an armpit. It's not that I think we defended in the best possible way but it was a set-piece, and all the rest, considering how good Napoli are in this moment in time…”
We have to agree with the gaffer, this game is a massive game and sometimes the difference is in the armpits. All kidding aside, being 10 points behind the 3rd place, in the Premier League table, Spurs isn't a position that Liverpool want to be in this or any season.
Sunday's match is going to be a tough road match, in a hostile environment. However, the Reds must rise to the occasion if they want to get back into the fight for European places in the Premier League.
“When you go through a concussion protocol you are not available for the next game because you have to go through different stages.”
”Big steps and still space for improvement because the boy is an incredible package.”
“He came on and didn’t play extremely long but was involved in both goals, which is good. So, big steps, absolutely.”
“A big game for us, a massive game for us. Difficult as well. Spurs away. I didn’t count now the points distance between us and them but we cannot be picky with opponents and games and where we want to get points – we have to go for it, definitely.”