Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has come in the defence of countryman Mesut Ozil, who was deemed a liability by club legend Steven Gerrard last week.
The Germany international had one of his not so impressive performances for Arsenal last weekend as the club succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Stoke City. While there were a few players who failed to show up, Ozil was once again made the scapegoat for the showing with BT Sport pundits Gerrard and Martin Keown criticising the World Cup winner.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of the Arsenal game, Klopp was full of praise for his compatriot who he feels is ‘an outstandingly skilled boy’. He added that the 28-year-old remains a player to watch for during Sunday’s game whilst insisting that the attacker is treated in a different way back in Germany.
He said: “I remember the 3-3 we played against Arsenal here. Without Ozil and Olivier Giroud, we would have won 3-0. One long ball, Giroud gave it to Mesut and it was five players on him, no chance. He is an outstandingly skilled boy. I don’t watch Arsenal often enough to be right to have an opinion about it. If people are not happy with him, I don’t know why. ‘There is no doubt in Germany about the quality of Mesut Ozil. Germany is really blessed with a lot of world-class players in his position and he is a fix in the German national team, so that should be a sign.”
Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez is also back in the Gunners squad after having recovered from an abdominal strain, but Klopp insists that the focus will be on the Reds’ defence as the north Londoners have plenty of personalities who could hurt them on the playing field. Liverpool have not lost to the Gunners at Merseyside since September 2012, and they will come into the game with some confidence following their progress to the Champions League proper.