Kostas Tsimikas expressed the determination in the Liverpool squad to produce the best possible finish to the season, with three points their aim at Leeds United on Monday.
The Reds delivered a strong response to falling two goals behind against Arsenal last weekend as efforts from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino hauled them level at Anfield before the former and Ibrahima Konate were each denied a late winner.
Nine games remain of the Premier League campaign for Jürgen Klopp’s men and Tsimikas reiterated the desire to end 2022-23 in positive fashion and with qualification for European football.
“We have to fight [in] every game. Game by game we have to win. If we want to achieve something we have to win all the upcoming games, the last nine games,” the left-back told Liverpoolfc.com at the AXA Training Centre.
“All the boys want to play in Europe next year, so we have to keep the good spirit we had in the second half [on Sunday], all the fight we did and we have to start doing it from the first half and the second half also.
“The first half was not so good but in the second half we came back. I think if we start like that every game, the first half, with this desire we had in the second half against Arsenal, we can win all the games.”
The Reds’ fightback versus the Gunners was underpinned by a powerful Anfield atmosphere, with Tsimikas explaining from the players’ perspective just how impactful it was and is.
“Of course it helped us a lot. Always when we play at our home there is an extra push for all the players who played,” he said.
“It’s very important that we had the fans next to us, especially in this game they were outstanding. They always support us from minute one until the end of the game.
“We wanted to celebrate all together a win; at the end we were a little bit unlucky with Mo’s chance and Ibou’s. We expected something more from this game, but of course the fans were outstanding and it’s always perfect when you play a home game.”
And on the potential lift Liverpool could gain from that performance, the Greece international added: “Yes, of course, I hope [so]. We need that, to be honest.
“The team is, for me, sticking all together; only us can go through all this. Hopefully this comeback in the second half can give us the extra push for the next games because we really want it. We are in a situation that we don’t feel comfortable [with].
“We were like this in this situation three years ago but it was not exactly the same because of the coronavirus and all these kinds of things. But, as I said, only us can go through this.”
Liverpool’s preparations are now well under way for their next Premier League fixture, a Monday night trip to Leeds.
The Reds suffered a defeat in the reverse meeting last October as a late strike saw the Yorkshire club secure a 2-1 victory at Anfield.
Tsimikas detailed his respect for Leeds, who are now under the guidance of Javi Gracia, and outlined the key areas that can lead his side to maximum points this time.
“They are a very hard-working team, everybody runs so much,” said the No.21. “They had a desire to win the game, even when it was at Anfield.
“I like the way they play, they fight for every ball, so if we want to win we have to be on top of all these situations – to fight more, to win more balls, to run more than them. And after that we have a chance to win the game.
“It will be very hard because they showed in all the games they played they fight until the end, so we have to be fully prepared for this game.”
The encounter at Elland Road has been earmarked as a likely return opportunity for Reds attacker Luis Diaz, who has not featured for six months due to injury.
Tsimikas is looking forward to seeing the Colombian back out on the pitch and helping Klopp’s team for the remainder of the season.
He finished: “Yeah, of course, we were so sad about Luis when he got injured again in Dubai. It was very hard for us because as a team we want him, we want his skills.
“He improved all the time with his personality all the time he played. When I played with him, because we play on the same [side of the pitch], he’s an unbelievable player and always helped me. And I help him also.
“Of course I’m very happy for this game, hopefully he plays and hopefully will be in a good shape and he can show us a little bit of the magic he showed us before he got injured.”