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“The whole world wanted him”: When Klopp sat at the table with Ödegaard

Jürgen Klopp is currently looking to the north of London with an envious eye. Liverpool face Arsenal, one of the most in-form teams in Europe – and an old acquaintance for Jürgen Klopp.

Arsenal FC are currently coming up trumps, just like Liverpool FC have done in recent years. Now in their fourth season under Mikel Arteta, the Gunners have perfected their game and are now reaping the rewards for their continued faith in the Spaniard. Even though they missed out on Champions League qualification last season, Arteta was not up for discussion. On the contrary, the 40-year-old got his desired players for expensive money and built them into a well-rehearsed, mostly functioning entity.

The same could be said about Liverpool in recent years, which is another reason Jürgen Klopp pays huge tribute to the north Londoners’ work ahead of Sundays clash. “All my respect, wow,” Klopp began his analysis of the Gunners, only to sink further into full praise. “When you need some time, nobody wants to give you time and maybe not all of us deserve time because you still have to be good to use the time – and obviously Mikel did that. “

Aside from blossoming talents Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, impactful new arrivals Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, and resurgent Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, Klopp is particularly fond of Martin Ödegaard – and recalls. “I spoke to him when he was 15, the whole world wanted him and he chose Real Madrid. I remember it like it was yesterday, sitting at a table with him and his father and everyone was excited,” said Klopp, who was still BVB coach at the time and of course witnessed the Norwegian’s difficult final years. “Now,” however, the 55-year-old recognises, “he has become the player that was expected of him at the time. “

Has the 4-3-3 been decoded?

Now Liverpool, who have weakened with unusual frequency this season and currently occupy only 9th place, must somehow counter Ödegaard & Co. Against Glasgow Rangers (2-0), the Reds showed much more stability during the week than in the wild 3:3 in the league against Brighton. Klopp, meanwhile, refused to credit the change of system from the usual 4-3-3 to a 4-2-2-2 as the reason for the improved performance. “For us it is much more important that we become more unpredictable again.”

In turn, does that mean Liverpool’s notorious 4-3-3 over the years has been decoded? According to Klopp, only when his team didn’t play to their maximum. “Other teams have worked it out for years how to play against us. But most of the time it didn’t do them any good because in those moments we were exceptional in what we did.”

Klopp now wants to coach his team to be exceptional again – regardless of which system they operate in. “It’s about the intensity with which we perform. We will try to cause them problems. “



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