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Stoke vs. Liverpool: Key Takeaways from Jurgen Klopp's Capital One Cup Presser

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2016

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool jokes with Simon Mignolet of Liverpool after victory in the UEFA Europa League Group B match between Liverpool FC and FC Girondins de Bordeaux at Anfield on November 26, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lauded goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in his press conference on Monday before his side battle Stoke City in the Capital One Cup, in light of transfer speculation surrounding the position.

The German denied rumours linking the Reds to Barcelona stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, instead opting to praise his current No. 1, who has been in good form this season, as quoted by James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp on speculation about Ter Stegen: "No. Our goalkeeper situation is absolutely okay." #LFC

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp: "Simon Mignolet is a really good goalkeeper."

Klopp spoke about his desire to win the Capital One Cup ahead of his side's semi-final first-leg tie at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday. 

The coach praised opposite number Mark Hughes for the valiant job he has done at the Potters, per Pearce:

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp: "This cup is important. We have to go for it. Our target is to win it. It will be tough because Mark Hughes has done brilliant job."

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp watches through the bubbles during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Liverpool at The Boleyn Ground in Upton Park, East London on January 2, 2016. West Ham won the game 2-0. AFP P
JUSTIN TALLIS/Getty Images

The Liverpool boss also hinted at his selection for the fixture after his side's defeat to West Ham United in the Premier League.

Klopp alluded he will not be making wholesale changes for the cup match despite losing 2-0 on Saturday in east London, per the club's official Twitter account:

Liverpool FC @LFC

JK: "We don't have six, seven, eight players to change. We have to react to the impact the last game had on the players and decide." #LFC

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STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Ashley Young of Manchester United chases Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City as he controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26,
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Anfield boss also highlighted Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic, who has hit a rich vein of form this term for Stoke. The 26-year-old has seven goals and three assists in the Premier League this term, according to WhoScored.com, and will be one of the hosts' primary threats on Tuesday night. 

Klopp said the player was a prodigious talent during his time in German football and is well aware of his ability, per Pearce: 

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp:"It will be a different game v Stoke. Arnautovic is more of a false 9. One of biggest rules in football is you have to avoid crosses."

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp: "Arnautovic was young player in Germany who had some problems but he has a big talent. He's scoring goals, making runs behind lines."

The manager also commented on the continued absence of Daniel Sturridge, as the striker finds it difficult to retain full fitness to be included in the starting line-up.

The German confirmed Sturridge has struggled to take part in training and would not be ready to face Stoke, as reported by the Liverpool Echo's Tony Barrett:

Tony Barrett @TonyBarrett

Klopp on Sturridge: "Daniel has had some problems and he's been able to train some days but not always the next ones."

Tony Barrett @TonyBarrett

Klopp: "Because he hadn't had one session with the team he's not available (for Stoke)."

Jon Super/Associated Press

The domestic cups are Klopp's best hope of landing silverware this season, but Sturridge's absence severely weakens Liverpool's claim on trophies.

Stoke have been in fine fettle in recent weeks in the Premier League and sit eighth in the form guide despite recently losing to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. 

Liverpool looked sluggish, as they were easily beaten by the Hammers at Upton Park, and Klopp's men continue to struggle—especially against lesser opposition.

However, a positive result on Tuesday could set the team on their way for a date at Wembley Stadium as the German looks to bring the glory days back to the sleeping giant. 

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