herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Koeman: I've got Klopp's measure

Saints boss believes he has key to ending Reds' cup hopes

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman will pit their wits against each other again in tonight's League Cup quarter-final clash at St Mary's
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman will pit their wits against each other again in tonight's League Cup quarter-final clash at St Mary's
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has claimed he is “absolutely satisfied” with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet

Ronald Koeman believes the key to defeating Jurgen Klopp's improving Liverpool comes in understanding the German's pressing game.

Much has been spoken about Klopp's favoured 'gegenpressing' system, with which he inspired such success at Borussia Dortmund and has worked well during his short time at Anfield.

However, Koeman is convinced Southampton have the measure of the system ahead of tonight's League Cup quarter-final clash against the new-look Reds.

"We know Liverpool likes to press and if you beat the press then you have a lot of options and possibilities," the Southampton manager said.

"We showed that (in the) second half against Manchester City (in Saturday's 3-1 away defeat as the team vastly improved after half-time) and that's all about ourselves.

"The individual qualities of these players in big teams will punish you for that.

"It wasn't really City but all our fault in the first 20 minutes because it was very poor.

"(Liverpool) have the fast transition when they get the ball.

"When you lose the ball, they play a different system to most teams with one striker and then two strikers behind the striker. It's hard to have a good defensive organisation.

Chances

"I'm not afraid. I prepare my team always about what we can do and how we beat the press and then we have good opportunities to create chances.

"(We need to) be aware (about) what we did very poorly last weekend.

"In that quality we have to improve and we have to play our level, and if not they are very dangerous."

Next year represents the 40th anniversary of Southampton's last major trophy, having famously shocked Manchester United to win the 1976 FA Cup.

Several Premier League teams no longer take that competition or the League Cup seriously, but Koeman is determined to achieve success in such competition because he believes Saints' opportunities are limited elsewhere.

"It's very important because we have, as a Southampton team, two opportunities to win a title," said Koeman, who will replace injured captain Jose Fonte with Steven Caulker tonight.

"One is the FA Cup and the second one is the Capital One Cup. We don't win the Premier League and it's very important (to do well in this match).

"First, about the competition we like to reach the semi-final, and, second, after the two defeats the best way to get back full of confidence is winning."

Klopp, meanwhile, has quashed suggestions Liverpool are hunting for a new goalkeeper after declaring himself happy with current first choice Simon Mignolet.

Ahead of the January transfer window, which will be the German's first at the Anfield helm, the Reds have been linked to a number of shot-stoppers in recent days, including Stoke's England international Jack Butland.

However, speaking before tonight's game, Klopp moved to back Belgian international Mignolet, who he believes is turning his Liverpool career around after a number of mishaps during predecessor Brendan Rodgers' reign.

"I'm absolutely satisfied with our goalkeeper situation," said manager Klopp.

"I'm sorry to kill your stories about German goalkeepers and different goalkeepers from Stoke - we are not looking for another goalkeeper. We have enough high-quality goalkeepers.

"Simon Mignolet - I have had a lot of goalkeepers in the last few years and he is one of the smartest I've ever had. He is completely open. He's young enough to develop, to improve."

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