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    Saturday, 31 October 2020

    Liverpool 2-1 West Ham: Jurgen Klopp's reaction

    Liverpool go top of the Premier League table after home win against West Ham

    Jurgen Klopp and Nathaniel Phillips against West Ham United.

    Thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota that help the Reds edged the Hammers to a 2-1 victory to wrap up a 63-game unbeaten streak at Anfield in the Premier League.

    Seven days after he scored decisively against Sheffield United, Diogo Jota rose from the bench to reprise his role as the Reds’ match-winner by firing in Xherdan Shaqiri’s threaded throughball with five minutes remaining.

    It came after Mohamed Salah’s penalty late in the first half had equalised Pablo Fornal's early opener for the visitors.

    Jurgen Klopp sat down on his post-match conference answering questions about the encounter.

    On the impact of Jota and Shaqiri’s substitutions

    "Both were good, obviously! It is not difficult to bring Diogo and Shaq on in the moment because they train in an exceptional shape, so it makes absolute sense that they get their minutes. Yes, Diogo is in a good moment! He is a good player and we are really happy that we could make that signing, so it is a proper win-win situation. I think we can help him and he can help us a lot. Yes, a very good night!"

    On Nat Phillips’ performance on his Premier League debut

    "If you know the story behind and all that stuff it makes it even more incredible. I am really pleased for him, he deserves it more than anybody. He is a great guy, a smart guy, knows exactly everything about himself as a footballer. He kept it really simple tonight, which was incredibly important for us. The boys supported him well and he supported the boys; he was vocal and he spoke on the pitch. In the challenges he was there, really aggressive but no fouls really, maybe one. It was a really good game and he deserves the [Man of the Match] award, especially when you know that Jamie Carragher gave him the award – he can understand what he felt tonight."

    On what he wanted from Jota and Shaqiri when they came off the bench… 

    "It was not about doing things different, it was about doing the right things with different players, pretty much. That was more what it was about. Curtis Jones, for example, I don’t know how many starts he’s had, [but] he played an exceptional game tonight, not to forget how old he is. It is intense and Bobby is the one that always has to fight for us in the closest area of the pitch, so bringing in there kind of fresh players, in similar areas and especially Shaq on 10 in that case – we changed the system slightly but with the dominance we had tonight, that’s not a problem. System struggles come with defending and not with offensive play and so we wanted to use [Shaqiri] there. Together with the runs. Mo and Sadio did exceptional runs there, so it is very important – if the two players are moving and the other two not, it is too easy to defend, so we needed these connected movements and that’s why we made the change. For a defender, it is not nice when you are used to one player and then you have to get used to another one who is pretty good as well. That’s why we put Sadio on the other side and Diogo on the left side. They were the reasons [we made the double change]."

    On what another battling victory says about the mentality of his players… 

    "I don’t have to say anything about it, you know it yourself. Of course, to believe in a thing doesn’t mean it happens all the time, it doesn’t happen all the time, but that’s how it all started with our improvement, with our success if you want. The basis for all what we do and did is the character of this group, that’s how it is. I cannot convince them to fight if they are not fighters, that’s not possible. And if they are not ready to put all the desire in the game and show all the determination, I cannot do that. I can find reasons why they should do it but I cannot convince them. So, it was always easy with this team to show them the right path and then that they follow it, but again it’s an incredibly difficult time – in the outside world, 100 per cent, and for the boys as well. It’s really demanding, the number of games we have to play and all that stuff and that’s why – and I spoke before the game to David Moyes about it, about the five subs and things like this – it still would be incredibly important if we could do that [permit five subs in Premier League matches] because you can only fight when your body is ready.

    I mean, they don’t have to be in the best possible shape, like four weeks off, a few sessions here and there and now let’s play football. We are ready to play every three or four days, but we need to find a way to help the boys and to keep the quality. It’s not about us, it would have helped West Ham tonight as well, in a game that was really demanding for them as well, if they could have had two more subs in the game. It doesn’t help a team, it helps the players and that’s why we were talking about that."

    On the importance of football continuing throughout the UK’s latest COVID-19 lockdown… 

    "It is obviously what we want and I think we proved that we can keep the bubble kind of safe. Yes, we had cases – everybody had cases pretty much, that’s the time we are in – but we could isolate these cases pretty quickly. It didn’t spread or whatever [and] these kind of things didn’t happen so far, so things never happened at the training ground. They happened when [players were] travelling with national teams or when players came new to the club and had to do some travels and brought people, all these kind of things, normal life. I think we proved that we can do it and I think as well, in a lockdown it’s really important for the people that they can do things they like to do, and watching football is obviously something they like to do so I am happy that we can continue."

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