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Jurgen Klopp appeals for Barcelona mentality as Liverpool attempt to win without Salah and Mane

On Sunday, Jurgen Klopp is appealing for the ‘Barcelona mentality’ as Liverpool attempt to win without Mo Salah or Sadio Mane for the first time since 2017.

Though newly promoted Brentford lack the glitz of Barcelona, whom Liverpool defeated 4-0 in their 2019 Champions League semi-final without Salah or Firmino, there are questions about where the goals will come from with their two key players away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

At least one of them has started every league game since Salah’s arrival, but they were unable to overcome Arsenal in Thursday’s goalless Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.

Firmino has scored this season for Norwich and Watford, but has not scored in the Premier League at Anfield in almost a year.

‘Anyone is welcome to score a goal. ‘Absolutely,’ Klopp responded when asked about the difficulty of scoring without his big-hitters. ‘However, it is not necessary to win 6-0. It’s about winning a football game, and a single goal can enough.

‘Sadio and Mo are both out, which is unfortunate, but we must get through this phase and make the best of it. It is always about how you perform, regardless of who is playing. It’s unfortunate that I have to tell you that we played one of the biggest games in our history without Bobby and Mo here [v Barcelona].

We got a result at Crystal Palace despite the fact that Mo did not start. We defeated Manchester United despite the absence of Sadio. It is about identifying football solutions, not telling other players that they must emulate him.’

Without Salah and Mane, Firmino bears an increased burden of obligation. The Brazilian is more well-known as a goal maker, with his most recent domestic league strike coming against Tottenham in December 2020.

Klopp thinks that the striker does not need to alter his style but would want him to share the weight at the top of the field with the in-form Diogo Jota.

 

‘Bobby is an extremely intelligent player. It’s about maximizing your team’s potential,’ remarked the Liverpool manager.

‘When he finds himself in positions where he can score, he does so. It makes perfect sense when he has two players who can give runs in behind and he can hold the ball and pass.’

Klopp has not ruled out reaching Wembley in Thursday’s second leg at Arsenal, but he insists the priority today is defeating Brentford and closing the gap on league leaders Manchester City. He wishes to strengthen his offense on free kicks and corners.

‘Our set-pieces were atrocious against Arsenal. They looked fantastic in training, but it was the complete opposite on match day; this is a natural aspect of sport,’ remarked Klopp.

‘We must continue to find answers, like we normally do, rather than continually discussing issues.

‘We can only concentrate our efforts on matters within our control. Nobody needs to change for that; everyone, of course, has to stand up.’

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