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Klopp Talk: It Was The Best Counterpressing Game This Season

The Liverpool manager was thrilled with how well his team hunted the ball down in the attacking half as they punished Leeds 6-1.

Leeds United v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

In a season filled with primarily angst and frustration, there have been some blazingly bright moments for Liverpool FC. The Reds had previously thumped Bournemouth 7-0, and embarrassed Manchester United to the tune of 9-0, both times in the friendly confines of Anfield. But on the road against a bottom half team has been a recipe for turgid performances this season.

Away to Leeds, however, we saw a Liverpool team of old (if you can remember all the way back to a season ago. Jürgen Klopp’s side was full of energy and vigor, putting one one of their most complete performances of the year in a 6-1 win.

For the Liverpool manager, the energy level and intensity was what made him the most proud. When asked about his favorite moment of the match in the post match press conference, Klopp eschewed picking one of the fantastic goals his team scored an instead called out his team terrorizing a ball carrier late in the match.

What pleased me most? The moment of the game, the best one I enjoyed the most, was the 92nd minute. I think it was already five or six-one, we lose the ball and four players chase the poor, poor player from Leeds down in that moment. I think that’s the basis for the whole game because that gave us stability. It was, from a counter-pressing point of view, definitely the best game we played this season. In possession probably as well.

That moment was perfectly captured on camera with Klopp’s reaction alongside. It’s moments like these that make us all love the German gaffer all the much more.

Of course, pressing for pressing’s sake doesn’t get you far. For one of the first times in quite a while, Liverpool turned the pressure and resulting mistakes into goals at a ridiculous rate.

Being calm, prepared with little passes, preparing direction in a really good way. At least three goals we scored [came] after counter-press, which is obviously massively helpful. Then we were calm in the decisive moments to pass exceptional balls. I think Mo’s second was super play, I’m not sure if it was Curtis to Robbo, then Cody, then playing the ball to Mo. That was really, really good. A lot of good moments; the last goal was a sensational pass from Trent and Darwin could finish it off. It was a good game.

There were plenty of fantastic performances on the day, but Klopp made sure to put some praise forth for his Portuguese striker, Diogo Jota, who has been involved but struggled to find the back of the net this year. Jota has been prolific the past two seasons since joining Liverpool, but a long spell on the sidelines with injury has blunted his form in front of net until firing home a brace against Leeds.

Yeah, he was injured too long, same like Lucho, and that’s obviously tricky. Diogo was involved in a lot of top, top moments, won the ball back and set up Mo’s first. Still, you can see there is space for improvement and he has some moments where you can see the rhythm maybe [is] not 100 per cent. The front three played tonight - and we could’ve had a completely different front three - the way they defended tonight, that was an important part of it, because they all can play football, but we need to understand it starts there. I think the counter-pressing mode was set by Curtis and Hendo, it was absolutely top how they chased pretty much everything on the pitch. That was super-important. I didn’t remember a situation where Robbo was in a one-on-one situation or Trent was in a one-on-one situation because we were always moving to the ball. So many important things and I liked it a lot.

As Liverpool now turn their attentions to Nottingham Forest next Saturday, Klopp is hoping to continue to build on the squads second consecutive strong performance. His hope is the Reds shake off the frustrations from the rest of the season and put together a strong run of results through the end of the year.

I said now in all TV interviews already, so it’s super-important what is happening from now on because it will go on after that, there will be a next season. I have no clue where we can end up this season; I do just not know. It depends massively on all other teams around us. As long as there are teams in front of us they can win all the games, as long as we don’t play them, [they] can win all the games without [us being able] to do anything against that. So, that’s now in this moment not too important, what is important is what we showed in the second half against Arsenal.

I think we agree it could have gone either way, we are two-nil down early, Arsenal is flying, and they score the third or fourth and you have a real problem. But we reacted well and got a point, which we deserved at least, I would say. And tonight now [it’s] super-important that we really understand what we got here, we play a really bad season, but some things are not really to explain, some things are definitely to explain and not acceptable. But now when we put in good performances we can understand what’s possible. That’s really, really important for me and that’s why I don’t think [about] where we can push to, or whatever. I just want us to play top football and play and win games. Then we will see where we end up.

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