Xherdan Shaqiri reveals what “emotional” Jurgen Klopp shouted at his players during Liverpool match against Huddersfield on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp was his usual animated self on the touchline – but instead of punching the air in delight he gesticulated furiously at his players.
Klopp’s behaviour is an accurate barometer of Liverpool’s performance and it showed he was far from pleased on Saturday.
Yes, Mo Salah’s winner was a delight but Klopp knows the Reds could easily have dropped points because of a lacklustre display. Huddersfield hit a post, had a penalty appeal for hand-ball rejected, and had a goal disallowed for offside.
Aside from his goal, Salah did little, Daniel Sturridge was anonymous, Andy Robertson was subdued, and Roberto Firmino was well below par when he came on in midfield, yes midfield.
Xherdan Shaqiri, one of the few Liverpool players to shine, admitted Klopp was not happy.
“He wants the best from you and always demands that you give 100 per cent,” he said.
“He is very emotional. If he sees something that is not 100 per cent normal he will shout… and he did!
“That’s normal. Everything was not perfect like he wanted it to be. In the end we won the game and that was the most important thing. But we have to analyse what was good and what was not good.
“We had opportunities to score more goals. Eight or 10 times when it came to making the final pass we could have done better. Maybe we can do better offensively.
“It was not the best football we have played, but we got three points.”
It was Shaqiri’s incisive pass that gave Salah the chance to score his first away goal since April 21. Klopp refused to hide behind the ‘winning ugly’ cliche and it’s clear he wants to see a huge improvement from his still undefeated side.
“We do what we do to win football games,” said the Reds boss. “I’m 100 per cent fine with that.
“But if I was to say ‘that’s enough for me, if we can have 20 games in a row like this I will take it,’ that would be a lie.”
Liverpool are a paradox. Yes, they have equalled their best start to a Premier League season, but they have reproduced last season’s breathtaking attacking football only in patches.
They are not pressing – one of Klopp’s trademarks – as well as last season and their stats are markedly lower.
Balanced against this is the significant improvement in their defending. Their goals-against tally of three is their best after nine games of any season, including their record-breaking 1978-79 campaign when they conceded just 16 times in 42 matches.
That is the main reason they are keeping tabs with champs Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Gomez and Virgil van Dijk impressed in the Liverpool defence and Shaqiri tracked back to help from his midfield berth.
“Every defender was very good,” said Shaqiri. “Sometimes you just have to win these games and we got the three points.”