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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praises Curtis Jones and rates Andy Robertson’s first start back in Burnley win | Football



Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praises Curtis Jones and rates Andy Robertson's first start back in Burnley win | Football

Curtis Jones impressed filling in for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back (Picture: Getty)

Jurgen Klopp reserved special praise for Curtis Jones’ ‘exceptional’ display after Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Burnley, with the midfielder forced to cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back in the second half.

Liverpool targeted an emphatic response after their painful defeat to title rivals Arsenal last weekend and Diogo Jota settled a few nerves at Anfield with a fine header on the half-hour mark.

The visitors struck back through Dara O’Shea on the stroke of half-time before goals from Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez put the Reds out of sight, with the victory sending Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League table.

Alexander-Arnold was forced off at the midway stage on Merseyside with a recurrence of his knee problem and the injury undoubtedly took some of the gloss off the performance from Liverpool’s perspective.

And with Conor Bradley unavailable, Jones had to fill in for his fellow countryman at right-back – a position the midfielder had never previously played according to Klopp.

‘It was obviously a problem at half-time that we had to take Trent off,’ the Liverpool head coach told reporters at his post-match press conference.

‘That’s a double problem if you like. One is Trent off and the other is we don’t have a right-back available.

Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold looks on during Burnley clash

Alexander-Arnold was forced off at half-time (Picture: Getty)

‘So we told Curtis what we had to do, change the formation slightly and make it as simple as possible for him because it’s the first time in his life he’s played the position.

‘We don’t want him to the inverted right-back and think about these kind of things as well.

‘Curtis did exceptionally well. Harvey [Elliott] came on and did really well. All the other boys came on and did really well.’

Robertson has returned from a shoulder injury (Picture: Getty)

Andy Robertson made his first start after returning from a long injury layoff and Klopp was pleased with the Scot’s performance, who has been eased back into the team in recent weeks.

‘Since we’ve been together he was never that long out so for him, very strange,’ the German added.

‘Super important. He played a top game, a top game.

Jota opened the scoring at Anfield (Picture: Getty)

‘He had the situation not only that he’s coming back, but when he came back we had these different kind of sessions because when you play all the time you don’t have real sessions where you can feel the game again.

‘It’s small sided games. All the other guys recovered. The few that didn’t play or come back from injury, they do different stuff so he needed the last week. Three sessions, big pitch, 11vs11, whatever we did and to feel the situation again.

‘Besides that, we had to force him a little bit, just ignore the fact he can’t have rhythm and bring himself in kind of a rhythm – and that’s what he did.’

Liverpool went back to the top of the table with the victory (Picture: Getty)

Klopp felt his side were ‘in a bit too much of a rush’ in the first half but was pleased with their response after O’Shea’s headed equaliser before the break.

‘It was a really tricky afternoon. It was about how we deal with it, how much character we can show and the boys showed exactly what we needed,’ he went on.

‘At the start of the game we were in a bit too much of a rush, that was the problem.

‘We played too quick, too direct, couldn’t react with the formation, couldn’t win ball back, they had counter-attacks and that looks not great and doesn’t feel great on top of that.

‘To score our goal, wonderful. To find our way in the game and then we concede in the last second before half-time. But 1-1 is not a problem.

‘I wanted us to play better football and play calmer football. Thankfully, we had two good situations to show them.’

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