Klopp hails Liverpool spirit

Boss Jurgen Klopp is happy that his Liverpool players continue to show that they have the fighting qualities needed to stay the pace in the Premier League title race.

The Reds restored a seven-point lead at the top of the table thanks to a 4-3 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday, with Klopp delighted to see his side recover from conceding the first goal of the game.

The German told his club's official website: "Nobody should be surprised about the character of the boys. If something was really here before I came in, it was character.

"I have known the boys since October 2015, all the boys that were here, and they have outstanding character.

"The work-rate was always unbelievable, so you have to mix it up with a few other attributes. Confidence is important, self-belief and all that stuff. The boys are ready to fight for it all – that is clear."

Mo Salah scored twice against the Eagles to reach 50 goals in the Premier League in just 72 appearances, with Klopp adding: "Exceptional – an exceptional achievement from a world-class player, that's how it is."

Liverpool now have a significant break from action, as an early exit from the FA Cup means their next game is a league visit from Leicester City on Wednesday 30th January.

The Reds are available at 2/11 to win the game against the Foxes and are 13/2 to triumph by a 3-0 scoreline, with Liverpool 8/13 to be crowned Premier League champions come the end of the season.

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Reds hit the right note

Jurgen Klopp felt Liverpool's 1-0 win over Brighton wasn't 'an opera of football but it was a really nice song' as they moved seven points clear in the Premier League title race.

Mohamed Salah scored the only goal from the penalty spot shortly after half-time, the Egyptian forward having been upended in the area by Pascal Gross.

Brighton contained the league leaders for long spells, and even had a chance to level late on when Naby Keita gave the ball away and it almost fell in the box for Jurgen Locadia after Trent Alexander-Arnold sliced a clearance.

Salah had passed up a glorious chance to double his tally entering stoppage time when he somehow poked wide from six-yards with the goal at his mercy after good work from James Milner.

Still, after back-to-back league and cup losses against Manchester City and Wolves, the Liverpool manager was delighted to win – in whatever style it was done.

"It was very hard but that is how it is. It was a massive game today. Everyone knows how difficult it is to go to Brighton," said Klopp.

"You have to be creative against a really good, organised side. It was a mature performance from my side. I really like that as this season it is quite a new skill and I'd like us to keep that.

"We learned from the first half and the second half was better. I liked the performance. It wasn't an opera of football but it was a really nice song."

Liverpool are 1/7 to win their next game at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Eagles are 14/1 while the draw is 7/1.

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Reds duo return to training

Jurgen Klopp has indicated that Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson could feature for Liverpool on Saturday in their Premier League match at Brighton.

Both players have returned to training this week – Matip has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on a fractured collarbone while Henderson has recovered from the knock he picked up during the recent defeat at Manchester City.

However, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez are all set to miss the trip to face Chris Hughton's side.

Klopp said: "Joel trained yesterday [Thursday] for the first time with the team, which is already really good but we have to see.

"We have to decide it day by day how he is doing, I am not 100 per cent sure. He feels good and that's good for us, of course.

"Hendo will train today [Friday] for the first time, we see what that then means exactly. Adam [is] out, Dejan [is] out and Joe, of course, [is] out."

Lovren picked up a hamstring injury in the early stages of Monday's FA Cup loss at Wolves but Klopp has hinted that the problem is not serious so the Croatian could return to action later this month.

However, the Reds boss has suggested the central defender may sit out the home game against Crystal Palace on 19th January.

Liverpool, 5/6 to win the Premier League title this season, are 3/10 to beat the Seagulls and 4/5 to keep a clean sheet in the encounter.

Robben wary of Reds

Arjen Robben says facing Liverpool in the last-16 of the Champions League was the 'worst possible draw' for Bayern Munich.

Former Chelsea winger Robben is coming towards the end of his career with the Bundesliga champions and will be attempting to add a second Champions League medal, having triumphed in 2013 with the German outfit.

The 34-year-old has announced he will leave Bayern this summer and he's wary that Liverpool could halt his dreams of signing off his stint at the club with further Champions League glory.

Beaten by Real Madrid in last season's decider in Kiev, all the signs are there that Jurgen Klopp's men are serious contenders again, says Robben.

"Liverpool are doing well again, just like last year when they made it to the final, and I also see them as a favourite for the Champions League this season," the Dutchman said.

"For us, it was perhaps the worst possible draw, but it's going to be a great challenge. We have to look at ourselves, keep working hard and improve ourselves. If we have a good day and play the way we want, I'm sure we'll make it very difficult for Liverpool."

Bayern are 14/5 to win the first leg at Anfield on 19th February, with Liverpool 17/20 and the draw 14/5 on Merseyside.

Robben meanwhile has been impressed with the impact compatriot Virgil van Dijk has made since joining the Reds from Southampton in January, though he's unsure if the former Celtic player is now the best defender in world football.

"I do not know if he is the best defender in the world, other people are allowed to judge that, but I’m happy for him," he said.

"He has made big strides lately – just look where he comes from.

"He has grown as a player, but also as a personality. I am happy for him, where he is at the moment. He is a key player at a gigantic club, and he is the captain of the Dutch national team. He deserves all the compliments."

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Klopp rules out defender buy

Jurgen Klopp has ruled out signing a central defender for Liverpool in this transfer window despite the club's injury problems.

The Reds boss has lost Joe Gomez, Joe Matip and Dejan Lovren to injury problems of late to leave Virgil van Dijk as his only regular centre-half fully fit for the game against Brighton at the Amex Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.

Midfielder Fabinho can play in defence, while 16-year-old Dutch defender Ki-Jana Hoever made his debut in Monday's 2-1 FA Cup third round defeat at Wolves.

And, when asked about the possibility of bringing in another stopper with Burnley's James Tarkowski recently linked, Klopp is adamant that his squad will cope.

He said: "Everything is sorted with buying players. We have four centre-halves. Three, maybe, two-and-a-half are injured so we'll have to try and come through in the moment.

"We need them back but you cannot buy a fifth centre-half and say, 'So you play two weeks and after that the others come in'."

Liverpool, who are 5/6 to win the Premier League, are 2/7 to win at Brighton, while the Seagulls are priced at 17/2 and the draw is 9/2.

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Lovren set for spell on sidelines

Liverpool look set to be without Dejan Lovren for several weeks after the Croatian defender sustained a hamstring injury against Wolves on Monday.

Lovren picked up the problem in the opening stages of Liverpool's 2-1 defeat at Molinuex in the third round of the FA Cup.

He was replaced in the sixth minute by the 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever as the Reds crashed out of the competition.

Klopp, who named a much-changed team from the one that had been beaten by Manchester City last Thursday, said of Lovren: "[It is his] hamstring, that is what I heard – without any signs before. I asked everybody, no signs, nothing, just out of the blue, so that's the decision you have to make.

"I am not sure what you all would have said if immediately from the beginning our centre-half situation was Fabinho and Ki-Jana; then probably a few very smart people would tell me that I don't respect the competition or whatever."

When asked how long Lovren would be sidelined for, Klopp replied: "I don't know in this moment."

Raul Jimenez fired Wolves into a 38th-minute lead after an error by James Milner only for Divock Origi to equalise soon after the break with Liverpool's first effort on target,

However, Ruben Neves scored the winner for Wolves with a superb second-half strike and they are now 14/1 to win the FA Cup outright,

Meanwhile Liverpool, 5/6 to win the Premier League this season, can be backed at 3/10 to beat Brighton on Saturday.

Klopp to be patient with Keita

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admits that Naby Keita has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League following his transfer from RB Leipzig.

Keita has not featured for the Reds since their 2-0 Premier League victory at Wolves, who they visit for an FA Cup third-round match on Monday, last month.

However, Klopp insists the midfielder remains an integral part of his squad and is convinced he will eventually be a big hit in England.

Keita has remained on the bench for Liverpool's last three games, with Klopp saying: "That's how it is sometimes. With Naby, everything is fine and I am completely happy. Could he be a bit more confident in the games? Yes.

"Is he exactly the player [he was] in his best time at Leipzig? No, but he's still adapting, that's how it is.

"But everybody saw how brilliant he played in the first part [of the season]. Then a little injury here, a little injury there and it was kind of a little setback. But he is a fantastic player and I'm really happy to have him here."

Klopp is set to make wholesale changes to his side for the trip to Molineux and has already confirmed that Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno will start the game.

Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are injured so Klopp has intimated that he may continue with Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk at the heart of his defence.

Liverpool, 7/1 to win the FA Cup this season and 5/6 to claim the Premier League title, can be backed at 10/11 to beat Wolves on Monday.

Trent seeks cup glory

Trent Alexander-Arnold denies the FA Cup is an unwanted distraction this season, insisting it is a trophy Liverpool want to win.

The Reds begin this season's competition away to Wolves in the third round on Monday night.

The game comes just days after Liverpool suffered a blow in their title hopes, losing their unbeaten record this season at current champions Manchester City.

That leaves them four points ahead of City as they seek a first title in almost 30 years.

However, Alexander-Arnold says the players' focus is now on the cup and disagrees with those who say it is a distraction in a season where Liverpool have other priorities.

He told the Mirror ahead of the Wolves game: "We're going there to win. It's not a free hit against Wolves. It's a chance to win a trophy – and everyone at Liverpool wants to win things.

"We're not going there to get knocked out. We want to win. It becomes a habit.

"We haven't won a trophy for a few years. It's been too long, really, for a club like this."

The England international added that the defeat at rivals Manchester City had hurt, but it was now important that the team bounced back as quickly as possible.

"It's an important game anyway, but even more so after we've tasted defeat in the Premier League for the first time," he added.

Liverpool are 19/20 to win at Molineux with Wolves 3/1. Liverpool are 13/2 to win the game 1-0.

Liverpool, 5/6 to win the Premier League title at the end of the season, get back to league action next Saturday away to Brighton and have home games against Crystal Palace and Leicester before the end of January.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has already indicated his intention to give some squad members the chance of a rare game at Wolves with Simon Mignolet recalled in goal while Alberto Moreno is also set to feature.

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Klopp content with Reds position

Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool side are still in a 'pretty good position' at the top of the Premier League table despite suffering their first defeat of the league season.

The Reds missed a chance to go nine points of the chasing pack as they were beaten 2-1 at Manchester City on Thursday evening, with their advantage now four points over the Citizens.

However, Klopp says that there is no reason to be anxious just yet, as his club chase a first league title since 1990.

The German told his club's official website: "I have so much faith in my players you can't imagine.

"If somebody would have told me after both games against Manchester City we are four points up, I would've paid money for it like you wouldn't believe.

"For us it is really important we take it game by game because there is no other (choice). If we would have won the title five times in the last 10 years, then we go 100 per cent, but we don't have the experience in that.

"Why should we behave like somebody who won it all the time? It's true that we didn't win it for a long time, the club didn't and we never won it as a team, that's how it is.

"We want to finish the season as good as possible and that's our right, we can do that. We are still in a pretty good position, so it's all fine for us."

The Merseysiders are in FA Cup action on Monday evening, when they face a tough trip to Molineux to take on Wolves, with Liverpool having won 2-0 in the Black Country in a league fixture just before Christmas.

Liverpool are 17/20 to win in 90 minutes on Monday evening and are 15/2 to repeat that 2-0 scoreline, with the Reds 6/1 to go all the way and lift the FA Cup this season.

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Guardiola sees “big opportunity”

Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City side have a big opportunity to close the gap at the top of the Premier League with victory over Liverpool on Thursday.

The teams meet at the Etihad Stadium with Jurgen Klopp's side having a seven-point lead over last season's champions.

December defeats to Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester dealt a blow to Guardiola's side but victory at Southampton at the weekend returned them to winning ways and the City boss knows a victory on Thursday night puts his side right back in the title race.

At a press conference ahead of the game he said: "I have the feeling it is a big opportunity for us to reduce the gap but our focus is the same.

"Everybody asks what we are going to do if we lose, but we are going to try to make our game and to win it.

"At the moment Liverpool are the best team in Europe for the way they play and control the details in their game. It's a good challenge for us."

Guardiola also revealed that he's hoping Kevin De Bruyne will be fit to feature against Liverpool.

The influential midfielder missed the match at Southampton with a muscle injury but he has been back in training and will be assessed further before the game.

City are 21/20 to win Thursday's game with Liverpool 5/2 and the draw 29/10. City are 10/1 to win the game 1-0.

City beat Liverpool 5-0 at home in the league last season but then suffered three defeats to the Reds, away at Anfield in the league and then home and away in the Champions League as Klopp's side reached the final. The teams drew 0-0 at Anfield earlier this season.

City are 7/4 to win the Premier League title this season with Liverpool 8/15.

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