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Sunday 11 December 2016

Buoyant Pool boss revelling in Euro progress

Klopp switches focus to Swansea as Sturridge remains under injury cloud

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was delighted the club wrapped up an early place in the Europa League knockout stages after Thursday's hard-fought 2-1 win over French side Girondins de Bordeaux at Anfield.

Liverpool found it difficult to exert dominance before striker Christian Benteke completed the come-from -behind win to send the Merseysiders through from Group B. They can win the group if they draw away to second-placed Sion on December 10 in Switzerland.

"I am very happy to have qualified, the team are very happy to have qualified, the club are very happy to be qualified, so you (journalists) can be very happy to have qualified," Klopp told reporters after the game.

"(Finishing) top of the table is important, but not the most important thing because there are only good teams in the next round.

"We will try everything when we travel to Sion in two weeks, but there are 50 games between then and now."

Klopp's immediate attention is on tomorrow's Premier League game against Swansea City as Liverpool look to build on last weekend's impressive 4-1 win at Manchester City.

Klopp could not say whether Daniel Sturridge would be fit to be included in tomorrow's squad to face the Welsh club.

However, he revealed captain Jordan Henderson, who has not played since the second match of the season after heel problems and then a broken bone in his foot, will not be considered until fully fit.

The midfielder returned to training with the full squad this week and his manager admits he is taking it day-by-day with the 25-year-old.

"He wants (to play) but we have to wait," said Klopp.

"I am waiting for him, that is what I told him. For a player like him he is always (knocking) on the door saying 'Give me five minutes, 10 minutes.'

"I like this, but it is not always the best thing to do. He has a big step ahead of him now.

"Everything we do is 120 per cent so you need to be prepared for this. Players like Hendo have to be fit, not only 50 per cent.

"If he is in this shape we can use him and he can help us."

Klopp also questioned whether Christian Benteke, whose brilliantly-taken goal won the game against Bordeaux, is ready to start again after 90 minutes against the French club.

"I don't know in this moment if Christian is capable of playing two games in three days. We will have to decide," he said.

"But it is not the most difficult situation at this moment with the strikers because we have Christian, Divock (Origi) and Roberto (Firmino) who are good.

"We need all of them for this big number of games."

Meanwhile, Swansea City manager Garry Monk has dismissed reports he has three games to save his job after a poor run of results, saying he has the trust and support of chairman Huw Jenkins.

The Swans have won one of their last nine Premier League games and are in danger of joining the relegation battle as they continue their slide down the table after they drew 2-2 with Bournemouth last weekend.

Swansea travel to Liverpool sitting in 14th place and Monk said the Welsh club believe he is the right man for the job.

"I speak to the chairman and he is extraordinarily supportive. That word 'trust' is from top to bottom, from him, when I have my discussion with him. It is normal," Monk said yesterday.

"It is normal to have discussions with the chairman and the board. Talk about performances, football in general, what went well, what didn't go well, what has to be improved and how we go about that as a group.

"All those things, that word trust is something that is clear from him.

"He trusts how I work, he's seen the success, what I bring to the club has worked in the past and he knows we can get through this period if we are all united, which we are."

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