Klopp wants Liverpool to make clean sheets a habit after Bournemouth shutout
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s first clean sheet in 14 games created a buzz in the dressing room and has challenged his players to repeat the trick to reach the Champions League knockout stages.
The in-form Reds ruthlessly tightened their grip on top spot by making it 33 Premier League games unbeaten with Saturday’s convincing 3-0 success at struggling Bournemouth.
Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah earned another important victory, which was built on the club’s first shutout since September 28.
European champions Liverpool must on Tuesday avoid defeat at RB Leipzig to guarantee progress to the Champions League last 16 and manager Klopp is eager for another solid defensive display.
“I forgot actually how it feels, to be honest. It’s great, we should have that more often,” Klopp said of not conceding.
“For the boys, that was the most used word in the dressing room when I came in, ‘clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet’.
“Obviously everybody was desperate for that and now we have it, so let’s have it more often.
“The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner, against Salzburg on Tuesday. It feels good.”
The clean sheet coincided with first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker’s return from a one-match suspension, although he did not have a save to make against a team which has now suffered five successive defeats and sits a point above the drop zone.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s opener came moments after Bournemouth lost influential defender Nathan Ake to a hamstring injury.
Cherries striker Callum Wilson later limped off with a problem of his own, adding to the club’s lengthy injury list which already includes the likes of Steve Cook, David Brooks and Joshua King.
Bournemouth captain Simon Francis admits his side are embroiled in a relegation battle but insists it is not time to panic.
“Morale’s not great in the changing room right now, you’d expect that,” he told afcb.co.uk.
“It’s not the time to panic. It’s not like it’s our first season in the Premier League.
“We do have to have the mindset that it is a relegation battle for us now. There’s no doubt about that.
“Of course, you should really think like that at the start of the season but we put high expectations with the squad we’ve got.
“Ultimately the table doesn’t lie, we are where we are, and we’re desperate for that next win.”