The standards at Liverpool are at an all-time high thanks to Jurgen Klopp. The Reds’ boss showed them off in his pre-match press conference.
‘It was okay,’ says Jurgen Klopp of Joe Gomez and Fabinho’s start together. The two are becoming the regular centre-half pairing at Liverpool, with both Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip out injured.
In fact, we might see an awful lot of the two together. Van Dijk may not play again this season, while Matip hasn’t been regularly fit for a year now.
And that’s quite worrying. Gomez is still only 23, after all, and has never led a defence. Fabinho isn’t even a recognised centre-half, he’s merely deputising from defensive midfield.
They’ve started well, though. Their first game together brought about a clean-sheet away at Ajax. Their second game should have done the same, but a controversial penalty blemished the display against Sheffield United.
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Now, we’d have that down as a remarkably good start for such an unconventional pairing. Yet for Klopp, ‘it was okay’.
Essentially, this just shows how high the standards are at Liverpool. They’re the champions, after all, and ‘expect’ the best – even from a centre-half pairing they hoped not to use this season.
And just in case we were in any doubt of those standards, Klopp had this to say:
“We all expect pretty much not perfection but not too far from perfection from us,” said Klopp. “That means there’s space for improvement, that’s okay. But how I said, everybody needs time to replace a massive player or person, but so far we did okay.”
Now, to be fair, he’s talking about the entire team. But using the words ‘not too far from perfection’ showcases these standards are near-impossible.
After all, asking that of any team is as high as it gets. Asking them from a team that has just lost the world’s best centre-half is crazy. But that’s the level Klopp has reached, wanting nothing but near-perfection from his team at all time.
That is the only way Liverpool will have a successful season, though. Every player has to push on and reach a new level and standard to make up for Van Dijk’s absence.
Fortunately, Klopp will clearly settle for nothing less. If he can get the player to reach those standards, we may just have a third major trophy arrive at Anfield in three seasons.