Football

Roberto Firmino plays 12 instruments in our orchestra: Klopp

Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp compared his team to an orchestra, saying yesterday that his versatile forward Roberto Firmino always hits the right notes even if he is not scoring.

Firmino registered only two goals in 23 English Premier League matches before heading one in during their 3-0 win over Leicester City on Monday morning (Singapore time) and Klopp said he was happy with the Brazilian's output.

"Scoring was always important for Bobby, but he's a complete footballer," Klopp told a conference ahead of their Champions League tie against Atalanta at Anfield tomorrow morning .

"A football team is like an orchestra, you have different people for different instruments. And some of them are louder than others, but they are all important for the rhythm.

"Bobby plays like 12 instruments in our orchestra. He's very important for our rhythm. We can play well without him as well, but... I like it a lot having him on the pitch."

Forward Mohamed Salah, who contracted Covid-19 on international duty with Egypt last week, has since returned to training after testing negative.

"Mo trained and looked really good, he's available," Klopp said.

"All the rest, no news. One looks closer, the other not so, that is the situation. I don't want to speak too much about it."

Besides Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also missed the win over the Foxes, as the Reds play three games in six days.

Klopp had criticised the broadcasters in an earlier Sky Sports interview that was not aired in Britain.

"If you (Sky) don't start talking to BT (Sport), we are all done. Sky and BT have to talk because if we keep playing on Wednesday and Saturday 12:30, I'm not sure if we will finish the season with 11 players. All the top six and seven," he said.

Under a £4.5 billion (S$8b) deal for three seasons, Sky have the first pick from each round of games, with BT Sport choosing their headline match second.

But Klopp said broadcasters should adapt to the circumstances of a season like no other, with matches crammed into the calendar to make up for the three-month break last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Everybody tells me it is difficult, but it is difficult for the players... The rest is just a decision on a desk in an office," he added.

"If someone tells me again about contracts, I go really nuts because the contracts were not made for a Covid season.

"We all have to adapt. You stand here with a face mask, would you have thought a year ago you would go somewhere with a face mask and we cannot be close? That's the situation.

"Everything changed, but the contract with the broadcasters is still 'we said this, so we keep this'." - AFP, REUTERS

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