As I’ve noted, despite the positive result in the Champions League against Porto, this weekend’s clash against West Ham is most certainly cause for concern. Turns out, Jurgen Klopp feels the same way. In his pre-match comments, the gaffer indicated that even in the midst of the raucous display in Porto, his mind was focused on the next challenge.
“Immediately after the game against Porto, it is not good for me as a human being, but I thought about West Ham - that is our life, to deal with that.
”What I want is that we are really ready for this game tomorrow. They will defend a little bit deeper, probably, and we need an atmosphere that is ready for that as well.”
Obviously not one to rest on his laurels, Klopp has focused intensely on the tremendous task before the squad. As he’s noted, West Ham will likely defend deep and one of the concerns of LFC in a post-Coutinho world is where that bit of magic might come from to unlock a team that has bunkered themselves tightly. Deep-lying, organized defenses against LFC have been cause for stomach-churning frustration on behalf of Reds fans.
Thankfully, Klopp isn’t taking anything for granted:
“It’s nothing decided this season, we are in a good position but a good position only gives you the basis for the next few games and now we have to use it as a group - players, coaches, manager and crowd.
”We need to be ready for a difficult game tomorrow because they - I don’t know exactly the results but - drew against Tottenham, lost with one goal at [Manchester] City, stuff like that. It shows you need to do it.”
Ultimately, it’s clear that Klopp isn’t ready to draw big pronouncements on the state of the club at this point. Yes, there’s reason to be optimistic. Yes, this squad looks more cohesive than past iterations. Yes, we seem to have weathered the initial storm in our time since Coutinho’s departure. Liverpool are in a very good position to accomplish some benchmarks for progress (securing a Champions League spot for next season) as well as perhaps something very special this year (a deep run in this year’s Champions League tournament).
But to hear it from Klopp, that’s for other people to sort. If it were up to him, he’d just as well focus on the task at hand.
“I am absolutely not happy. I want to be happy at the end of the season. Happy is not the word I have in my mind, to be honest; I am sometimes fine with it, sometimes more, sometimes less.
“Either way, it’s all negative or when it’s positive it’s so positive that we don’t care about the next thing. I am not like this.
”I really want to use this basis now and, for that, we have to be at our best tomorrow afternoon, so I know it’s a lot of work to do.”
Well in, Jurgen. Let’s settle in, focus up, and get to work. Up the Reds.