Jurgen Klopp believes Roberto Firmino’s performances justify his decision to play him up front – and has offered an update on Liverpool’s pursuit of Alex Teixeira.
The German boss has opted to utilise the Brazilian as central striker – or more like a ‘false No 9’ role – despite having the likes of Christian Benteke in reserve.
And Klopp, speaking at a press conference to preview Tuesday evening’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Stoke at Anfield, insisted he was more than satisfied with Firmino’s displays – especially after his two-goal display in the 5-4 win at Norwich on Saturday.
“After Man United, everyone asked why we didn’t play with a striker.
“For me I’m really happy Roberto is in the shape he is. He’s obviously in a good moment and that’s good for us.
“The most important thing in all was the different names on the scoreboard. Goals from midfield were important.
“We need to have different names on the scoreboard. We have enough bodies in the box, good timing, good passing.”
Teixeira transfer update
The Reds have been chasing Shakhtar Donetsk forward Teixeira and had a bid of around £24.5million rejected by the Ukrainian side last week.
Reports have suggested Liverpool are ready to raise their bid for the Brazilian, with the player himself saying he’d welcome a move to the Premier League.
But when questioned about talk of raising their bid, Klopp would only say: “There’s absolutely nothing to say.
“Maybe it surprises you. I have nothing to say to things like this.”
Liverpool go into the match against Stoke with a number of defensive injury problems to contend with and Klopp added: Dejan (Lovren) after three weeks trained yesterday, a complete session. That was good.
“We’ll have to see in the next 24 hours what’s up with Kolo (Toure) and Mama (Sakho) because Steven (Caulker) can’t play.
“(Nathaniel) Clyne got a knock, he’s a really tough boy. I think we should leave him out of training and leave him over night.
“We have only Flanno (Jon Flanagan). We love Flanno. But he’s been out a long time. But 90 minutes is not the best thing.
“I think nothing else, no serious things.”
Klopp wants to see Liverpool make a fast start against Stoke after questioning a sluggish start against Norwich at Carrow Road.
“I didn’t like our start,” he added. “I liked our reaction but the first 15 minutes was something. We’ve had this two/three times – Newcastle was similar, West Ham was similar.
“But the striking back mentality is much better than we had. But now we have to start at our highest level in each game.
“It’s not in the player’s minds that it’s only Norwich or something. It’s of course in life, four months is not the longest term, you see something you try to understand it. So, we have to push ourselves, but for tomorrow we don’t have to think about it. Tomorrow, it’s go, fight for every single ball, every single yard. It’s easy. But in common, it’s something I have to find a solution for.”