Jurgen Klopp has doubled down on comments he made about Gabriel Martinelli, after Arsenal’s League Cup clash with Liverpool last week.
Klopp made some headlines in his post-match interview following Liverpool’s 5-5 draw with Arsenal, giving 18-year-old forward Martinelli high praise.
“Martinelli’s pretty much the same age (as Sepp van den Berg) but he’s a talent of the century,” Klopp said. “He’s an incredible striker, so it’s really difficult.”
After that interview, Klopp was asked by Brazilian television show Esporte Interativo about what he’d said. Rather than shying away from the remarks, the Liverpool boss instead backed them up, though he insisted he wasn’t trying to put Martinelli under too much pressure.
“It was not in this game only. I watch a lot of football, so I saw the Europa League games of Arsenal,” Klopp explained. “He’s 18 years old, right? So our scouting department is all over the world and stuff like this, but I think Edu gets all the credit for that signing.
“He’s really unbelievable. So young, looks so mature already, is a proper threat. Yeah, he looks like a really decent player.
“But I didn’t want to put any backpack [pressure] on his back with this thing [his earlier remarks] but I just really like good football players and obviously he’s a very good one.”
So far, it doesn’t look like it’s very easy to put Martinelli under pressure anyway. The youngster shone on his debut in pre-season, impressed at the Camp Nou, scored a brace on his debut at the Emirates Stadium, then another on his European debut, then another at Anfield.
Even in the penalty shootout, the teenager looked just as comfortable slotting his spot-kick away as any of his peers – other than maybe Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
There are still plenty of hurdles for the young Brazilian to overcome. He needs to get off the mark in the Premier League, he has to stay consistent and injury-free as much as possible, but right now he’s certainly giving Arsenal fans something to be excited about.