Football

Klopp: 'We can win ugly too'

Klopp insists Liverpool are not mentally weak against 'lesser' teams

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has dismissed suggestions his players have a mentality problem against the Premier League's "lesser" sides.

All of the Reds' five league defeats this season have come against teams in the bottom half of the table, but they showed their fighting spirit to come from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

"Mentality issue? No, it is a question of confidence," said Klopp after the match.

"We don't live in a dark corner and not know about the things people speak about us.

"It is deja vu. You try everything before the game and then you concede nearly in the first situation."

Klopp praised his players for "winning ugly" as, after Ashley Barnes scored the Clarets' first goal at Anfield since 1975 after just seven minutes, Georginio Wijnaldum equalised with Liverpool's first shot on target in first-half added time.

Emre Can netted the winner with a sumptuous long-range effort as Klopp's side held on to go five points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who have two matches in hand because of their FA Cup involvement.

"It is the first ugly game we won. We all have to get used to it a little bit. Usually when we are not at our best, we have lost," added Klopp.

"You cannot plan an ugly game. In this kind of play, Burnley may be the best team because they are used to everything and if you don't score early against them, you need to fight.

"We usually win good games, but the bad games and the average games, we need to be challenging, too."

Klopp also praised midfielder Can's resilience for playing through calf problems throughout the season.

"He had a few problems with his calf in the last few months which we couldn't sort quickly enough because sometimes he had it and sometimes not," said Klopp.

"We had a lot of specialists look at it to try to find out. We couldn't say 'go on holiday for four weeks and see if it gets better', we couldn't do that.

"It looks like we have found the solution now and he doesn't have the problems any more."

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has found himself answering repeated questions about why his side are so bad away from home - where they have drawn two and lost 12 this season.

"We deliberately made it awkward for them and it is a 'nearly', but we have had too many 'nearlys' on the road," he said. "We need to make it happen but, if we play like that, we will make it happen.

"I don't search for luck, you have to make your own, but it is nice every now and again if you get it.

"We haven't had a big decision go for us on the road."

Meanwhile, Klopp confirmed that Reds captain Jordan Henderson has "no chance" of playing for England when Gareth Southgate names his squad on Thursday for a friendly with Germany on March 22 or in the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley Stadium four days later.

The 26-year-old central midfielder has missed Liverpool's last three Premier League games with a foot injury and will not be fit to face Manchester City this Sunday either.

"The (international) break, these two weeks, hopefully - it's what we hope - (we) can bring him back, but there's no game possible," said Klopp.

"He cannot train, he for sure cannot play against City and it makes sense that he is doing the rehabilitation.

"Hopefully, he can run in the second week of the international break and then we have to see." - WIRE SERVICES