Liverpool should embrace the positive start they’ve made to 2018-19 and not dwell on the midweek disappointment in Belgrade, Jürgen Klopp has instructed.
The Reds come into today’s Premier League clash with Fulham at Anfield just two points behind league leaders Manchester City after 11 games, though were left frustrated by a 2-0 Champions League reversal to Red Star on Tuesday.
However, Klopp feels it’s important for his players to retain a sense of perspective when assessing what they’ve achieved so far this term overall.
He wrote in his column in the official matchday programme: “We come into today’s game in a very healthy position in our domestic campaign, albeit I am not immune to some of the debate and discussion surrounding our current form or level of performance.
“I’ve been at this club and in this country long enough now to understand that a result like the one in Belgrade on Tuesday will lead to a lot of analysis, opinions offered and conclusions being drawn. This is absolutely fine of course and I understand that it even comes from those who genuinely care about our situation and have a desire to see us succeed.
“To be clear: the performance against Red Star wasn’t at the levels we expect of ourselves. End of story.
“But I also cannot and will not ignore everything else we have done so far this season. We kick off this fixture today, our 12th Premier League game of the season, with 27 points and within striking distance of first place in the table. These points have not been given to us on a silver plate or gift-wrapped. Our destiny in the Champions League group remains in our own hands. Not only are we in a situation with a number of avenues to qualify but if we win both our remaining games we will finish top of a highly competitive mini-league.
“Self-analysis and self-review is important and it is crucial never to be ignorant to areas you can improve. This is what we work on all the time. This applies to me and my management of the team the most, by the way. The person who is most responsible for performances and results like Tuesday is me – this is always the case. But reviewing and seeking continuous improvement and progression also involves making sure you don’t risk damaging a really positive situation.
“We are in a good way and I encourage my players and the supporters to embrace this ahead of today. If I was a doctor I would say we are in really good health. Not perfect and of course we all want to be even healthier. But by no means are we need of any drastic treatment, far from it in fact.
“I want Anfield to be a place of joy today on and off the pitch. I want everyone – players and supporters – to engage with the enthusiasm and pleasure that comes from being part of this fantastic club. Finding the balance, as a team, to ensure we keep focused on our responsibilities to deliver, while at the same time not allowing ourselves to be overly burdened, is going to be important between now and May.
“We are at our best, in football and in life, when we are joyful and spirited, when we are courageous and positive. My team and this club has these qualities in abundance. These are a group of players who embody the best values of football when it comes to finding the perfect mix of entertainment but also a winning mentality. We have displayed them already this season and we will continue to.”
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