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Klopp Talk: “The First Half Was Absolutely Exceptional”

The boss praises Reds’ impression preseason performance against CA Osasuna.

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Liverpool v Osasuna - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

The Reds put in their first truly fun performance on Monday when they played against CA Osasuna at Anfield. The team won 3-1 with Roberto Firmino firing in twice and Takumi Minamino getting the third.

Jürgen Klopp was full of praise for the way his team played in their second of back-to-back home friendlies.

“The first half was absolutely exceptional in real different departments,” Klopp said. “The way we, first of all, defended the second balls – because we didn’t have to do that last night too often but today obviously Osasuna have a different approach, so a lot of long balls. We had a lot of finishes so they had a lot of goalie kicks.

“I liked the formation around that, winning these balls back, passing forward as quick as somehow possible, offering these runs. Bobby between the lines was exceptional but what Kaide and Taki offered from a speed perspective was absolutely exceptional as well. Played really good in midfield, Ox was on fire obviously, Fab controlled together with the boys out there.”

It was great to see Liverpool hit their stride in the final practice match before the season begins against Norwich City on Saturday.

On the performance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Klopp claimed he was unsurprised to see such a good run from the midfielder, and that he is one of several players who benefitted from a full preseason of training.

“I think Ox played in six pre-season games, was part of it, Taki probably as well. You can see then how much it means. The same for yesterday when you think about Naby, it’s the same for him – that it’s very important,” Klopp explained. “That’s what you need and now we have a proper situation and with how it looked tonight, come on, make the line-up for Norwich. Who do you want to leave out after these two games? That’s how it should be, the boys had to put pressure on themselves with the performances they put on the pitch and that’s what you wish for in an ideal world.”

All of that depends on the players staying healthy and staying fit, which, if last season is anything to go by, is definitely not a sure thing. But right now, we can start the season full of optimism and only one important player in Andy Robertson on the long term injury list.