Ahead of the UEFA Champions League clash between Liverpool and Ajax, the coach of the Premier League club, Jurgen Klopp, has stressed that his team must use the game to show a reaction.
Recall that Liverpool lost their opening UEFA Champions League group stage game against Napoli on September 7, 2022. The Italian Serie A team slammed the Premier League giants with an unprecedented 4-1 defeat at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
The defeat in the Champions League opener came after Liverpool had suffered three draws, one defeat, and enjoyed just two wins in 6 Premier League games so far this season.
Unfortunately, Jurgen Klopp and his boys brought their slow start in the league to the Champions League to the advantage of Napoli who are currently sitting second in the Champions League Group A on equal points with first-placed Ajax. While Liverpool are sitting on the third spot with no point like last placed Rangers.
Ahead of Liverpool’s clash with in-form Ajax, Jurgen Klopp admitted that Liverpool’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli is the worst he has ever experienced since he started coaching the Premier League club. While urging his team to use Ajax to bounce back to winning ways, Klopp admitted that an improved performance will not “guarantee a result” against the Dutch team.
Klopp said: “We had a meeting with the players, I watched the [Napoli] game and it was a real horror, to be honest. It was the worst game we played since I am here.
“How can you get confidence in football? It all starts with defending the ball, and that’s what we have to do. If we can get momentum, then we can play football.”
Jurgen Klopp has claimed that Liverpool's 4-1 defeat to Napoli in the UEFA Champions League was the worst game he has managed in his time at the club.pic.twitter.com/OuOpLiaE6q— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 13, 2022
“We have to show a reaction, we know that,” Klopp noted, adding that “Ajax are, I would say, in the opposite situation” to Liverpool.
“They’re again in a really massive rebuild but, no surprise, are doing a really good job”, the German tactician added.
Note that Liverpool did not have the opportunity to play any competitive game after suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli almost a week ago. Their Premier League game against Wolves last weekend was postponed indefinitely due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
When asked if the lack of competitive football for over 6 days would affect the rhythm of his team going into the clash with Ajax, coach Jurgen Klopp argued against the notion.
The German tactician said: “Did you see our game [against Napoli]? If we could lose this kind of rhythm it would be really cool.”
"What rhythm? We had no rhythm…did you watch our game?"— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 12, 2022
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reflects on his side's defeat to Napoli in the Champions League.pic.twitter.com/u6hOMJPYdm
The Champions League game between Liverpool and Ajax will take place at Anfield at 20:00 later tonight.
Meanwhile, the coach of Tottenham Hotspur, Antonio Conte has stressed that he would not have an issue with his team selection even though almost all his players are available for the Champions League game against Sporting Lisbon later tonight. Only Lucas Moura is still struggling to regain fitness.
Tottenham Hotspur defeated Marseille 2-0 in their opening Champions League game. Interestingly, it was the club’s new signing, Richarlison that scored the two goals.
Unfortunately, Tottenham who have recorded four wins and two draws in 6 Premier League games could not play their last weekend game due to the demise of the Queen. Hence, Antonio Conte has so many ready legs for the Champions League clash but that is not one of his problems.
Ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s clash with Sporting Lisbon, Conte said: “When you play every three days, you run the risk of having more injuries and less energy.
“I’m more relaxed when it comes to choosing my starting 11. The postponement of the game against City has allowed me to change the idea of the team I had in mind for tomorrow’s game.”
🗣 "It gave me the possibility to pick the starting eleven more relaxed."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 13, 2022
Antonio Conte on Tottenham's postponed weekend game giving the players more time to recover pic.twitter.com/BeQDeXUvD9
On the other hand, Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim claimed that their tonight’s opponents are the favorites in Group D even though the Portuguese side are topping the group.
Amorim described Conte who has coached Juventus, Chelsea, and Inter Milan before ending up at Tottenham as “a winning coach”.
“Tottenham are the clear favorites in the group”, Amorim said. “They are a team that have one of the best attacks in the world with a winning coach in Italy and England and world-class players.
“They are strong in transitions and have a lot of quality on set-pieces. We will have to be wary because they will punish us for the slightest mistake.”
As mentioned earlier, Sporting are sitting top of Champions League Group D on equal point with second-placed Tottenham. Hence, their clash at Estádio José Alvalade at 17:45 on Tuesday, September 13, would decide who will top the group going forward.