PL Stories - Ep 18Nov 30
Jurgen Klopp reflects on Steven Gerrard's sacking and Liverpool's switch to 4-4-2 ahead of the Reds' trip to Nottingham Forest - live on BT Sport!
Gerrard was sacked following Aston Villa's 3-0 defeat at Fulham on Thursday night, and Klopp was sympathetic to the plight of his former player, who managed the U18 and U19 sides at his boyhood club before taking charge of first-team duties at Rangers and Villa.
Jurgen Klopp is adamant that Steven Gerrard will return to management following his sacking as Aston Villa boss.
Gerrard, who played under Klopp during the latter stages of his Liverpool career and then went on to coach the club's U18 and U19s sides, was sacked after the West Midlands outfit's 3-0 defeat at Fulham, leaving them 17th and only above local rivals Wolves on goals scored.
Speaking ahead of the Reds' Saturday lunchtime trip to Nottingham Forest - live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate from 11.30am - Klopp revealed: "We had a little exchange this morning - nothing too deep.
"I can imagine that it's disappointing for him because of the ambitions he had and the things he wanted to achieve with Aston Villa.
That's obviously not cool, but I don't think we have to worry now about Stevie. He said himself after the game yesterday that he knows the game long enough. These kinds of things can happen.
"Always in life, we all get knocks here and there. It's all about how you respond. Steven always came back [on previous occasions] and he will come back from this, no doubt about that.
"A lot of great managers out there had to leave their previous clubs for different reasons - some of the best quite frequently during their career - and then showed up somewhere else, learnt from it, found a better situation, whatever.
"He will be back, 100%. But I now hope actually that he takes a bit of time as well for him, because since he finished his career, he's pretty much [been] working all the time, if I'm right, so maybe use [that time] now a little bit for himself to recharge."
In his pre-match press conference, Klopp was also asked about his use of a 4-4-2 formation in recent games, with the first example being the 2-0 win over Rangers earlier this month following eight goals conceded in three matches against Napoli, Ajax and Brighton.
Liverpool have won four games from five since the switch - the defeat to Arsenal being the only blemish - with the most impressive victory in that run being the 1-0 victory over Premier League title favourites Manchester City, ending the unbeaten record of Pep Guardiola's men in the process.
When asked why he had made the change, Klopp said: "[For] stability, closing gaps we left open in the weeks before - not on perhaps, it just happens.
"We played for quite a time a specific system, a specific way, and when you get used to things, you lose a desire for the detail a bit, and because it was so well tuned, how we defended or how we pressed or how we did different things, little things can change a lot, and that's why we had to change a big thing and to start thinking new about it as a group.
"It's actually not a big difference. It's a change of responsibility slightly. It has given us more stability in different moments. In the last game, to get stability again, we changed to a 4-5-1 in the last few minutes, so that's possible still.
"It all depends who is available, who is fit. When we started the 4-4-2, we had two more strikers available [Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota], so we have to stay open for all different possibilities and we make decisions about that, so it's about what is best for us and what is worst for the opponent. That's pretty much how you try to set up and that's always what we did and will do."
Speaking of injuries, Klopp has a number of players on the treatment table.
Jota and Diaz will be out until after the World Cup with calf and knee injuries respectively, while Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Naby Keita and Arthur are also out.
Following his winner against West Ham in midweek, Darwin Nunez is set to feature at the City Ground after being taken off as a precaution against the Irons, according to Klopp.
A win at Forest would see Liverpool spring up to fifth, just one point off fourth-placed Chelsea (albeit having played a game more).