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Jurgen Klopp ends speculation over the future of key member of backroom team

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: PA Wire

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: PA Wire

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dispelled speculation about the future of goalkeeping coach John Achterberg by revealing the Dutchman has signed a new contract until 2024.

The club brought in Brazil great Claudio Taffarel, currently goalkeeper coach for his national team, to the staff this week but Klopp said it was to work under Achterberg not to replace him.

“We spoke to Ali (Brazilian Alisson Becker) and he was quite pleased. He loved the idea as well. He’s a brilliant guy,” said Klopp.

“And John Achterberg has renewed his contract by the way until 2024. He’s the head of the goalie department.”

Klopp also said defender Joe Gomez and midfielder Naby Keita are set to return to the squad for next week’s final Champions League group match against AC Milan.

Both Gomez (calf) and Keita (hamstring) have been out since the end of October but returned to squad training on Thursday.

“They didn’t do the full session but they looked brilliant,” added Klopp.

“They will use the next few days to do what they need to do. After this weekend they should be in contention again.”

Meanwhile, Klopp has paid tribute to in-form striker Diogo Jota, as he prepares to take on his former club Wolves on Saturday.

“I remember the first time I saw him I thought he could be a player for me because of how intense he was in all situations,” said Klopp.

“Technically he was on a really high level but the intensity he puts in makes all the difference as at our level all players have technical quality.

“You make a difference with your attitude and that was what I was most excited about adding Diogo to the mix.

“People said he didn’t score an awful lot of goals but the problem is Wolves had the most intense style of play for offensive wingers.

Diogo Jota has been in fine scoring form for Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Diogo Jota has been in fine scoring form for Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

“(Raul) Jimenez was allowed to stay up but the rest had to cover the whole pitch and it costs you energy. And he was very young then.

“All that made it very interesting for us (and) it was clear he would make the next steps with us.

“What I didn’t know when I saw him first is Diogo is an incredible package. From a personality point of view he is an incredible boy, really smart, structured in a nice way.”

Jota has scored four goals in his last three matches, deputising superbly for the injured Roberto Firmino, and is currently only being outscored in the Premier League by team-mate Mohamed Salah and Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.

Many of his goals are right place, right time to apply a simple finish with others, like Wednesday’s in the Merseyside derby victory, individually brilliant.

Asked how much was instinct and how much was the game-plan Klopp added: “I don’t know how much but for a striker he has to be there.

“The second goal (against Southampton last weekend) Mo passed the ball square and Diogo was there (to tap in).

“People say these goals are easy but they are not easy because you have to read the situation, so that is both instinct but as design he has to be there, that’s what you do in training.”

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