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Jurgen Klopp plays down focus on Erling Haaland – “Football doesn’t work like that” aiming Virgil van Dijk vs Erling Haaland…



Jurgen Klopp downplays the significance of Erling Haaland and emphasizes that Liverpool cannot solely rely on Virgil van Dijk to neutralize him during the upcoming clash against Manchester City at Anfield.


The highly anticipated match between the top contenders in the Premier League promises numerous storylines, including Klopp’s last face-off against Pep Guardiola.


Apart from the sidelines where the managers reside, one might be inclined to perceive the match as a fierce battle between the unstoppable Haaland, who has scored 29 goals this season and seven in his last three games, and the dominant Van Dijk.


However, when it comes to City, Klopp is of the opinion that there is an abundance of talent and numerous alternative choices, making it unwise to solely rely on traditional man-marking tactics.


“Football has evolved beyond that approach. Even if Haaland is not finding the net, they have other players who can step up,” he stated.


If Virgil van Dijk manages to neutralize Haaland, Foden could strike from 30 yards out into the far corner, while Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, or Bernardo Silva could also step up to the plate.


I do not believe they are directly competing against each other. There will be moments where they clash, and we hope to come out on top, but football is a multifaceted game.


“When observing Erling Haaland’s movements, it is evident that he strategically positions himself. He is clever enough not to always stick close to the perceived best player.”


Liverpool’s initial strategy to pair Ibrahima Konate with Van Dijk to contain the prolific Norwegian forward was disrupted when Konate got injured in the Europa League match against Sparta Prague.


Despite Klopp’s lack of optimism regarding Konate’s availability, he expressed readiness to field rookie Jarell Quansah in the crucial game if necessary.


Just a year ago, Quansah was playing against Forest Green while on loan at Bristol Rovers, but unforeseen circumstances have propelled him to a higher level sooner than anticipated.


Jurgen Klopp praised the player’s remarkable progress, highlighting his determination and skill. Klopp emphasized that the player’s commitment and performance have impressed the manager, earning him a place in the team.


The injuries in the defensive line propelled him to the top of the hierarchy, and his reaction has gained the manager’s confidence.


“He made a huge leap forward,” Klopp stated.


“When he returned [from Rovers], not everyone in the club was immediately convinced that he would be the next big thing…


He has proven to be a genuine talent with remarkable strength, particularly when in possession of the ball. However, the question remains: how will he fare against the top-quality Premier League strikers in terms of physicality?


The decision to include him in the squad was based on the belief that it was the right time to do so, even if he was initially considered the fifth choice centre-half.


Nevertheless, he quickly demonstrated his desire to secure a spot in the team during every training session, bringing immense joy to the team.