Conte asks Spurs fans for ‘time and patience’ after boos in Liverpool loss | Tottenham Hotspur

Antonio Conte hit back at Tottenham’s fans for booing his side off at half-time during their side’s 2-1 defeat by Liverpool on Sunday.

Spurs were made to count the cost of another slow start after an impressive second-half comeback failed to yield a late equaliser. Two goals from Mohamed Salah were enough for Liverpool to earn their first away win of the season but Conte was not unhappy with his side’s performance. The Italian argued Spurs deserved a point and he said that their fans have to understand that their side are a work in progress.

“First of all, I think that we have to show in every moment a great respect to our fans because they are our fans,” Conte said. “They pay for their tickets. At the same time, if you ask me if I was happy or disappointed, yes.

“I continue to repeat since from the start of the season that we have just started a process and I think after one year we made a lot of improvement. If someone thinks we are already ready to win, I have to be honest and tell you it will be really, really difficult because when you start a process you need time and patience.

“If you understand this, everybody is OK. Otherwise we can lose the passion, the enthusiasm. I can’t promise, in this moment, trophies to our fans. I continue to ask for time and patience because I have the experience to do this. We are far from other teams that are used to winning. If we understand this it will be good. Everybody wants to win, I am the first but we need time and patience.”

Spurs, who have ceded third place to Newcastle, were given hope by Harry Kane’s goal. But Liverpool, who are seven points behind Conte’s side, dug deep for the points.

“We had to keep fighting,” Jürgen Klopp said. “We did that. We like that. People who know us know if you want to win an away game this is a normal way to do it. This is a completely normal game for us. We drew twice against Tottenham last season, so winning here is incredibly difficult. We have to show this attitude and commitment to defending. We have to show that we are not punched too hard when we concede a goal.”

Jesse Marsch says Leeds have ‘stopped the bleeding’ after win over Liverpool | Leeds United

Jesse Marsch claimed Leeds had “stopped the bleeding” after they ended a run of eight Premier League games without a win by beating Liverpool for the first time since April 2001.

Leeds, who started the day in the relegation zone and with their manager under intense pressure, produced a highly impressive away display to condemn Jürgen Klopp’s team to a first home league defeat in 30 matches.

Crysencio Summerville struck the winner in the 89th minute – and on the eve of his 21st birthday – to spark wild celebrations among the Leeds’ fans and in Marsch’s technical area.

A relieved Leeds manager said: “At 1-1 and when it was close against Fulham last week it was like we were waiting to lose more than pushing to win. The best part tonight was that you saw real resolve at 1-1. We needed Illan [Meslier] to make some big saves but I think the mentality to push and stay in the match and see if we could get three points showed resolve and belief.

“It was necessary to stop the bleeding. The guys are happy. There is music in the dressing room I want them to enjoy the moment, but we have use this to launch ourselves.”

Marsch admitted “the heat” was on him after eight league games without a win but insisted he felt no pressure from the Leeds hierarchy. He said: “Everybody’s made a big deal about firing me but the board and I have been unified and we’ve stuck together. My focus was on the team. The ability for them, at an incredibly tough moment in the season at a very difficult place against one of the best teams in the world, to come away with three points is incredibly important.”

Jürgen Klopp
Jürgen Klopp said Champions League football would be beyond Liverpool if their form does not improve. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Liverpool are eight points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle after a second Premier League defeat in succession. Klopp admitted Champions League qualification will be beyond his team this season should their inconsistent form continue.

The Liverpool manager said of the gap: “That is not my main worry but of course I am not that dumb that I don’t know about the distance and who is up there. We cannot qualify for the Champions League if we play as inconsistently as we do at the moment. We have to fix that. A lot of things are still possible but for that we have to win some football games.”

Klopp admitted his team are finding it “difficult” to control games this season and again highlighted injuries as a contributory factor but cited poor defending for Liverpool’s first home league defeat since March 2021.

He added: “We have to fight through and fight for momentum and for confidence. I would have taken a point tonight nobody would have been happy but me, but my main issue is how we defended the second goal. We had a two v one situation on the wing but no challenge. Then we had three v one inside the box but no challenge.”

Qualification for knockout stage should never be taken for granted, says Klopp | Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp said qualification for the Champions League knockout stage should never be taken for granted after Liverpool secured their passage with an ultimately comfortable defeat of Dutch champions Ajax.

Liverpool progressed from their group for a sixth successive season, and with a game to spare, courtesy of goals from Mohamed Salah, Darwin Núñez and Harvey Elliott in Amsterdam. Ajax were the better team until Salah opened the scoring with his 40th European goal for Liverpool and Klopp, full of praise for his team’s tactical response, insisted the achievement of reaching the last 16 was one to savour.

The Liverpool manager said: “Nobody should ever take for granted qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League. We did it again in a game that started off really tricky and that makes victory even sweeter. Ajax are a really good team and we beat them twice. They were the better team for the first 35 minutes, they were more settled than us, which is normal because we changed again slightly and pressed different and we had to get used to that.

“We came through that, one situation where we were lucky and the other with a good block and then we scored our goal, which was brilliant, and the next situation was a sensational football moment but unfortunately we hit the post. Then we scored the two goals in the second half and controlled the game. We are really happy about going to the last 16. It’s great.”

Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson, who created Salah’s opener with a superb pass, was forced off with a knee injury late on but Klopp believes the problem is not serious. “I was worried because it was in front of me,” he said. “But it was knee-on-knee so painful, a bruise, but as far as I know now nothing else. He should be fine.”

Klopp admitted he would have been satisfied with just the draw that Liverpool needed to qualify. But he added: “I’m not sure what is better – to fly through a game, which everyone would like,or to overcome difficulties and develop into your best self like we did today. That stays with us. I would be over the moon if we played 0-0 and got through, it is all about getting through, but we did it winning 3-0 and with wonderful goals.”

‘This is Anfield’: Guardiola rages after VAR chalks off Manchester City goal | Premier League

Pep Guardiola raged at the disallowing of a Phil Foden goal at Liverpool with the scoreline level at 0-0, saying: “This is Anfield.”

The Manchester City manager, who said he was pelted with coins by home supporters behind him, later saw Mohamed Salah score the only goal of a pulsating game which also featured a red card for the Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp.

Foden’s effort was ruled out after VAR advice for a shirt pull in the build-up by Erling Haaland on Fabinho. Haaland then worked the ball free of Alisson, even though the goalkeeper appeared to have two hands on it.

When asked about the decision, Guardiola replied: “This is Anfield. The referee spoke with my assistant coaches and said: ‘I’m not going to make fouls and I will be clear.’ All game it was play on and play on and play on. Except the goal [for Foden]. The ref can decide: ‘I’m going to whistle all the actions,’ but he decided not to do it and then after he did it. When we scored a goal it was not play on. This is the reality.

“We didn’t lose the game for that because nobody knows what would have happened but we had momentum and control and scored a goal. We could not have it and then after we lost by a mistake [by João Cancelo for the Salah goal].”

Guardiola turned to sarcastically conduct the celebrations of the Liverpool fans after the VAR intervention. “They shouted, we shout more,” he said. “Otherwise, here in this stadium, you go. The game was calm and then after the goal was disallowed and after they scored a goal, it was the real Anfield.”

On the coin throwing, Guardiola said: “Next time they will do it better. They didn’t get me. They tried but didn’t get me. They got it at the [team] coach years ago [before a Champions League tie] but not this time.”

Klopp apologised to Guardiola for the coin throwing, while the club pledged to issue lifetime bans from Anfield to anyone found guilty.

The Liverpool manager admitted he was not proud of himself for the red card; he snapped after there was no whistle for a Bernardo Silva challenge on Salah in the 86th minute.

“My fault, I went over the top,” Klopp said. “I know myself, I am 55 and I deserve a red card. I lost it in that moment and it is not OK. But as an excuse, how on earth can you miss that foul [by Silva]? Anthony Taylor just let things run and I know Pep said that Anfield made the VAR decision. But it was a foul on Fabinho and Alisson had two hands on the ball. So three situations [with the Silva challenge] where he should have whistled.”

Salah shines as Klopp earns tactical triumph amid his touchline theatrics | Premier League

Towards the end of this thrilling, slightly wild afternoon at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp could be seen with his arms outspread, a tableau of pathos, disbelief, astonishment, bewildered to find himself handed a red card by Anthony Taylor and sent from his touchline.

As Klopp whirled away, almost sprinting from pitchside, air‑guitaring wildly, still barking and yelping and pointing, it was hard to disagree with his look of stunned surprise. This made no sense at all. How exactly had Klopp managed to last 85 minutes out there?

It was just that kind of game, an afternoon that began slowly, before unspooling in a whirl of conjoined attacking thrust and counter-thrust, ignited by Manchester City’s disallowed goal on 55 minutes.

Liverpool’s manager had spent much of the second half cartwheeling down his touchline, beseeching the fourth official or looming over the assistant referee in his billowing quilted coat like an enraged human wigwam. There was an unpleasant edge at times in the spectacle, and a sense of spite in some of the songs and chants. Objects seemed to be thrown at City’s bench from the stand on that side. Football can feel like catharsis, a chance to expel all those pent‑up toxins. There seemed to be quite a lot to go round here.

By the end there was a kind of giddiness around those clanky corrugated stands, a sense of a 1-0 Liverpool win played out through a mist of rage. But for all the theatre this was also a cold victory, and a triumph of planning for Klopp, who achieved that rare thing, a genuine tactical triumph in a high‑stakes game.

The talk around this team in the last few weeks had been of entropy and rust. The players have looked tired. The system has looked tired. Klopp-ism, a way of playing where the variations are always to become a louder, faster version of yourself, to be this again, but more, seemed to have reached something of an end point.

But Klopp made two significant changes here. First he moved Mohamed Salah to the centre and asked him to play as a kind of free radical centre‑forward. Not a false 9 or a real No 9, just a kind of Salah nine, veering about in the gaps between the centre‑backs, chest puffed, legs whirring like a cartoon mouse, and looking utterly refreshed in that role.

Anfield had been a crisp, wintery kind of place at kick‑off, the air above the stands a chilly powder blue. There were some key textural changes to Liverpool’s starting XI, a 4-2-3-1 with Harvey Elliott in an in-out position on the right, sometimes as a wide midfielder, sometimes tucking in, allowing Salah to roam out that way or skitter across into the centre.

Klopp and Guardiola both unhappy with referee after Anfield clash – video

City’s back three was also a surprise twist, but in the event it seemed perfectly set up for Salah’s central role, offering channels of space between the central defenders for those spurting diagonal runs. And in those opening moments Liverpool were crisp and bruising and sharp. The last time James Milner had been asked to face off directly against Phil Foden at right-back there was a kind of low-level cruelty about the whole spectacle.

But here Milner had that side locked down, defending with aggression, charging out to intercept, and holding his ground as Foden twirled and jinked in front of him.

The game congealed for a while. There had been a sense of theatre just watching Erling Haaland walk out at the start. As he picked the ball up for the first time, there was the sound of a home crowd goggling just a little at the sheer human variety of it all. If he ever gets bored of team sport Haaland could probably fill a stadium with just him to watch run up and down.

But he didn’t finish well here. It would be wrong to say Haaland had a bad game. He kept finding space and making chances. He just looked oddly gauche, twice heading weakly from a good position. There was a poor touch when he might have played Foden in on goal. He looked, in an odd twist, like a 22-year-old.

Through all this Salah had already drawn one wonderfully athletic save from Ederson, careering in on goal from the halfway line after a fine pass by Roberto Firmino. With 71 minutes gone he seemed to think he was coming off, but was instead treated to a volley of furiously barked instructions from his manager.

And a few moments later he scored a thrillingly simple goal, made by a long, flat punt to the halfway line by Alisson. From there Salah took three touches, the first to nudge himself in front of João Cancelo, the second to shift the ball, the third a lovely, soft, side-footed finish that sent the ball zinging into the net and then back out again.

City might have equalised, might have been caught on the break, but were aided by the astonishingly focused tunnel vision of Darwin Núñez. Virgil van Dijk had a moment, heading out from under the crossbar with Haaland lurking, enough to draw a thunderclap of applause, a TV close‑up, to feel that shot of warmth, energy, vibes.

Another success was the neutering of Kevin De Bruyne’s influence, as Liverpool’s midfield three got close and stopped those bullocking runs. Nothing was resolved here. Liverpool are still only close to being close.

But Klopp earned this victory. Salah looked re-energised. Perhaps this thing might just have some road left to run.

Klopp’s reliance on the undroppables reveals Liverpool’s soft underbelly | Liverpool

Even Jürgen Klopp seemed a little mannered and grave in his pre-match press conference, unwilling to offer up barbs or jokes or amusingly exuberant swear words. There was some headline-grabbing stuff about the limits of being able to compete long-term with clubs owned by nation states, remarks that, while undeniably true and worthy of debate, will still rile the more biddable foot soldiers of the Etihad public relations department.

Mainly Klopp sat at his desk talking without hyperbole about Manchester City as the best team in the world and Erling Haaland as the best striker in the world. Nobody disagreed (they shouldn’t: they are; he is) or really made much of it. But then, as Liverpool welcome City to Anfield on Sunday afternoon, eight games into a Premier League season of entropy and metal fatigue, it is hard to avoid the sense of a pistol hammer being cocked.

Liverpool haven’t won a league game since August. Liverpool had conceded 10 goals in five games before Wednesday night’s stroll through a Rangers backline that showed all the resistance of a beaded curtain.

If Klopp’s team look tired, well, maybe that’s because they are. At the Emirates last weekend Liverpool had eight men on the pitch who also played in the opening game of Champions League run four years and one global pandemic ago. Even the most resilient material has a limit to its tensile strength.

By contrast City have yet to lose this season and have looked like an entity in a state of transformation, all new shapes and new forms, new energy. City have 44 goals in 14 games, 31 of those scored by 22-year-olds. Even Pep Guardiola has begun to dress a little younger, to wear trousers with too many pockets, a man who is suddenly able to marvel a little at the thing he has made, even, for the first time, simply to watch it go.

Little wonder there is a temptation to give in to the idea of the seven-year itch, the ageing parts, the failure to renew, those meme-able shots of Klopp staring weirdly on the touchline like an ailing robot mannequin considering the meaning of mortality; and from there to cast Sunday as a gallows walk, a requiem for an era.

Klopp and Pep Guardiola embrace on the sidelines at Anfield
Liverpool have struggled to keep pace with Manchester City so far this season. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

This fatalism might even be Liverpool’s best hope of defying gravity. This is still a game of fine details. There may be an obvious mismatch in the prospect of Nat Phillips (one hour in the Premier League in the past 18 months) being asked to contain the world’s most insatiable Nordic goal-raptor. But last seasons’s quadruple chasers aren’t quite done just yet.

Perhaps, for the neutral at least, there is a better way of looking at this. Sunday is also a moment to pick over the wider narrative of the past four years, to register just how vertiginously good City have been in that time and appreciate Liverpool’s ability to keep pace, the will to push league seasons to the wire.

This is a Liverpool team that have won by making their opponents suffer, but which now find this a quality that cuts both ways, running themselves thin chasing the sun. While there is a reflex urge to find fault with a team in decline, to cast around for avoidable errors – which are undoubtedly present – there is an argument that Sunday is also a moment to celebrate, a Viking funeral for the age of high Klopp-ism.

There have been missteps along the way. Why no new midfielder this summer? Why no plan B, no sense of this team evolving or finding different patterns? This Liverpool have the same strengths and weaknesses as all the Liverpools of the last five years.

The most telling weak point is the reliance on a core of undroppable players. Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold are never rested, never given time in the shadows to take a breath. Mo Salah has played 233 games in the last four and bit seasons, more than Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden.

This is a source of strength. The relationship with these undroppables has been unusually tight, intimate, galvanising. But in the case of Alexander-Arnold the insistence on backing him through his drop in form, on insisting that, in fact, this was all part of the plan, has felt a little misguided, not to mention unfair on the player himself. João Cancelo is also a top-class attacking full-back. But does anyone actually notice if he’s rested or rotated out or given time to recover if his levels drop?

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold is among a group of Liverpool stalwarts who have begun to look increasingly jaded. Photograph: DeFodi Images/Getty Images

The same goes for Van Dijk, a player so excessively revered that to drop him from the team would feel like dynamiting one of the presidential heads off Mount Rushmore, to invite notions of collapse and decay. Van Dijk achieved the rare late-blooming feat of becoming one of the best centre-backs in the world for three seasons. But after that terrible injury, he has been forced to search for his best form in the full glare of public scrutiny.

It is a function of the greater quality of City’s squad that Rúben Dias or John Stones can disappear for a game or two without comment, that De Bruyne can be rested when his body starts to trouble him. Money does come into this. Liverpool’s net transfer fee spend in the last four years has been £80m, compared with City’s £200m.

It isn’t just about the figures. City have also spent brilliantly, a club that operates at every level with an un-football-like degree of extreme competence. There is something else, too, a level of comfort. No nation-state club will ever go bust or over-stretch itself, will ever have to worry about resale value or dividends for owners or moneyball stuff.

It is a level of financial invincibility that makes a difference to every hard choice. City fans will point out, correctly, that other elite clubs have spent as much. But the fact is they’re doing this to keep up with City and Paris Saint-Germain, not because it makes any actual sense. Consider, for a moment the doom-laden transfer dealings of Barcelona or Manchester United. Does anyone really think this is good for them?

If there is cause for optimism on Sunday it is that Liverpool aren’t as bad as they look. Salah is not a five-league-goals-in-eight-months player. Andy Robertson is back. Van Dijk may not be great again, but he could at least be good.

Plus Liverpool haven’t actually lost at home in the league for a year and half. There is still hope of cranking that wheel again, of generating those surges of energy that once made Guardiola refer to Anfield as “that place”, that left him stomping his feet, waving his fists at the sky and shouting “two times, two times”. But really, how many more times?

‘We will fight’: Klopp says Liverpool can fly again despite slow start | Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp has said he sympathises with Liverpool fans who expected the team to be “flying again” this season but insists their form is not as poor as has been portrayed.

Liverpool have endured their worst start to a Premier League season for a decade and are 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal following defeat at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Klopp’s problems continued after the game with Luis Díaz ruled out for up to eight weeks with a knee injury, Trent Alexander-Arnold for a fortnight with an ankle problem and Joel Matip facing two weeks out with a calf injury.

Jordan Henderson is also subject of an Football Association investigation into an alleged incident with Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes but Klopp maintains his captain is in the right frame of mind to face Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Klopp believes three major decisions went against Liverpool on Sunday – claiming Bukayo Saka was offside in the build-up to Arsenal’s first goal, his team should have had a penalty for a handball by Gabriel and Saka’s match-winning spot-kick should not have been awarded.

Speaking in Glasgow ahead of the Rangers tie, Klopp derided former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann for suggesting the team have “lost their spark” and are showing problematic signs this season. “A fantastic source, well respected everywhere,” said the Liverpool manager, sarcastically. “That [being a former Liverpool player] does not give you the right to say what you want, especially when you have no idea. I actually think Didi Hamann does not deserve that you use his phrase (spark) to ask a question.”

Klopp admits there is no quick-fix to Liverpool’s problems but, given his team can take a significant step closer to the Champions League knock-out stage with victory at Ibrox, he believes criticism of their form and predicament has been exaggerated.

The Liverpool manager said: “This is a tough situation but it is also a challenge. We always face challenges but we go for it and I am sorry to all our people who expected that after last season we go again and fly again and compete for everything. And now it is not the case. I cannot promise that we will fly tomorrow but we will fight, definitely, until someone tells us the fight is over. That is all we can promise. It hasn’t got easier since Sunday because of the injuries but the team I saw today in training I liked a lot. So let’s give it a go.”