Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool must still prove themselves worthy of European football next season despite boosting their qualification hopes with back-to-back Premier League victories.
The Reds go into Wednesday’s trip to West Ham in seventh place after wins over Leeds and Nottingham Forest ended a run of four league games without a victory, leaving them three points off Tottenham in fifth but nine behind Manchester United in fourth.
But with Brighton lurking a point below – with two games in hand – Klopp knows there is still much work to be done in a season where a lack of consistency has too often been Liverpool’s downfall.
“Nothing,” Klopp said when asked what Liverpool had shown with their last two results. “You could say the same about West Ham, they’ve found their feet as well so let’s see about that.
“We have to still prove ourselves. We cannot talk about consistency when you win two games, especially when you win the second one like we did (a 3-2 victory away to Nottingham Forest) where the defending was not perfect to say the least…
“We have to keep it going. There were a lot of things to like in the last two, two-and-a-half games and that’s what we have to continue. We have to make sure it’s not too difficult for people to watch us, that they like it again.”
Diogo Jota has scored four goals in those two victories, his first Liverpool goals of a season wrecked by a calf injury.
“He just got back up to speed,” Klopp said of the Portugal forward. “He is an exceptional player.
Since Diogo joined us he did exceptional stuff for us. He’s super smart, can play a lot of different positions, he has super interesting skills for an offensive player.
“He’s not the tallest but an extreme threat in the air, his timing is top, he can finish with both feet which is extremely helpful and has the speed.
“Diogo this season had a really bad injury, that kept him back, nothing else. If he stays fit he is an outstanding player.
“When you are injured you need rhythm. It is an ongoing season and nobody waits for you – that is the most difficult thing.
“Now it’s really cool he could score these goals because all of them were – for us – super important.”
Liverpool’s trip to east London may be badly timed, with West Ham picking up form in their fight against relegation.
David Moyes’ side are unbeaten in their last four in all competitions, a run that has included a 2-2 draw with leaders Arsenal, victory over Gent in the Europa Conference League and Sunday’s 4-0 rout of Bournemouth.
Klopp said he expected a tough evening, but joked he had been rooting for Moyes to succeed all season since being told in the summer that the former Everton and Manchester United boss was – before the appointments of Julen Lopetegui and Roy Hodgson – the only manager older than him in the Premier League.
“I don’t look much at other clubs…but this specific one I was into it because if West Have would have sacked David Moyes I would have been the oldest manager in the Premier League and I wanted to avoid that,” Klopp said.
“Somebody told me before the season, I was the second oldest manager. David was the oldest so since then it was fingers crossed for West Ham. David has to stay!”
Klopp also said he was happy that the process of appointing of new sporting director was moving in the right direction.
Julian Ward will step down at the end of the season, only 12 months after replacing Michael Edwards.
“I’m not involved in the talks (with possible candidates) but in the talks around (who to pursue) then, yes,” Klopp said.
“I am not the person in the club who can give a real answer about where it stands. That’s in the hands of other people, but from what I’ve heard, it’s all going in the right direction…
“I’m happy with the structure. The guy or the lady we get will be absolutely right but nothing to say in this moment.”
Jordan Ayew equals John Paintsil’s Ghana record
After earning his 91st appearance against the Central African Republic in the final round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, Jordan Ayew hit a significant milestone in his Ghanaian career.
The 31-year-old gained further honors when he assumed leadership of the team in the absence of his brother Andre Ayew. He entered Ghana’s encounter with his head held high after winning the Crystal Palace Player of the Month award for August.
Mohammed Kudus’ outstanding free-kick goal and Ernest Nuamah’s late goal for the Black Stars—who was making only his second appearance—in the 88th minute helped Ghana, led by Jordan Ayew, come from behind to defeat their opponents 2-1.
In terms of Ghanaian internationals with the most outings, Jordan Ayew is now tied for fourth place with Andre Ayew (114), Asamoah Gyan (109), and Richard Kingson (93).
The former Olympique Marseille player declared after the game that he was prepared to raise his total with other contests.
He added, “I still have games left to play.”
Ayew, who has played for the squad consistently since his debut in 2010, has scored 19 goals and is expected to play a bigger role in Ghana’s upcoming games, including those in the 2026 World Cup qualifications and the 2023 AFCON competition, which will take place in Ivory Coast next year.
Neymar claims Saudi league could top Ligue 1 already
According to Brazilian captain Neymar, the football league in Saudi Arabia may already be more competitive than Ligue 1 in France.
The 31-year-old attacker left Paris Saint-Germain in August for approximately £77.5 million with add-ons for the Saudi Pro League.
In a transfer window that saw Saudi teams spend more than £700 million on foreign players, Neymar signed with Al-Hilal.
I wouldn’t be astonished if the Saudi league is superior to the French, he remarked, given the names that were sent to Saudi Arabia.
According to data from the football governing organization Fifa, Saudi clubs’ spending on foreign agreements this summer was second only to the Premier League, whose teams spent just under £1.6bn on foreign transactions.
Although Al-Ittihad was unable to lure Mohamed Salah away from Liverpool, other Premier League players, including Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, and Fabinho, moved to Saudi Arabia.
Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, Georginio Wijnaldum of PSG, and Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich were also courted by Saudi clubs.
Marcelo Brozovic, the captain of Inter Milan in the Champions League final, Franck Kessie of Barcelona, Jota of Celtic, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio are among more players who have made the move to the Saudi Pro League.
A brand-new transfer world record might have also occurred. After making a £259 million offer, PSG allowed Al-Hilal to speak with Kylian Mbappe. However, the forward chose to stay with the French champions, and Neymar was instead sold.
Although Neymar’s tenure in Paris was limited by ankle ailments after transferring from Barcelona for a record sum of £200 million in 2017, he assisted PSG in winning five Ligue 1 championships.
While representing Brazil internationally, Neymar said: “I can promise you that Saudi Arabian football is the same. We have goalposts, and the ball is spherical.
“There is no mystery. There, we practice hard because we still have a strong desire to win.
“I want Al-Hilal to win championships. Not much has changed.
Saudi Pro League, according to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, poses a greater threat than not.
The Saudi deadline, which ended over a week after the top leagues in Europe, drew criticism from a number of Premier League managers.
Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, stated last week that the Saudi Pro League felt more dangerous than not. According to Klopp, it’s important to “protect the game and ensure that European leagues remain as strong as they are.”
Henderson, a staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community, claimed that criticism of his transfer had “really hurt” him.
Given that same-sex sexual conduct is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, some LGBTQ+ activists have questioned his decision.
Richard Ofori and Jordan Ayew train with the Black Stars in Kumasi
Prior to their upcoming encounter against Central African Republic (CAR), Black Stars teammates Richard Ofori and Jordan Ayew arrived in Kumasi in time for their team’s first training session.
After landing in Kumasi, the team held their first practice at the Baba Yara Stadium with 24 players present (Joseph Paintsil was not there).
when previously reported by DEK360ghana, the squad held its first practice on Monday in Accra with only approximately 12 players present. However, most of the players eventually joined when they traveled from the capital to Kumasi.
While his teammates continue to train in Kumasi in preparation for the crucial encounter, Paintsil is the only unfit player who is considered present in Accra.
However, because the event was intended to be private, access to the Baba Yara Stadium was refused to both media and spectators.
As the pivotal game in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier approaches, the team is slated to hold another practice that will likely be accessible to the media.
Ghana must either win or draw to qualify for the tournament, which will be hosted by Ivory Coast’s neighbors the following year, while CAR must win in order to advance.
The game kicks off on Thursday at the Baba Yara Stadium at 16:00GMT