Complacency is probably one of Liverpool’s biggest enemies. Up there with injuries and bad referees and sometimes the press (us excluded). There is always a match, mostly against a lower table team, that will take the wind out of our sails and send our confidence down a couple pegs. Swansea did that after we beat Manchester City. Burnley last year. Crystal Palace ALWAYS. We get soft and forget what other teams can bring to the pitch that stops us in our tracks. While manager Jürgen Klopp has been better than others in the past about tackling this enemy head on, it needs constant reminding. Just because we got out of a 4-1 victory against West Ham on Saturday doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels against other teams.
“You have a good moment, you have to keep it going - that’s the most difficult thing to do,” Klopp said on Sunday.
”When the sun is shining, you’re having a good run and you have all this press work to do, LFC TV and stuff like that. They are all so positive then we start doing the funny things and all that stuff so you get completely soft.
”I said today in the meeting if this would be the first day of the season and we would know as much as we do now about each other that would be a perfect world. It was not like this but we won games.
”Now we know so much about each other, now we like each other, now we have better times with each other in private and on the football pitch. Now we need to stay angry with the rest of the world, we need to stay aggressive. That’s the thing.
“At the beginning of the season you don’t have a lot of laughter in the dressing room. Now when we eat it’s like ‘come on, please, settle’. They are fantastic boys, they all like each other, a few jokes.... Keep this going without getting soft.”
Camaraderie is not something that Liverpool are lacking, that’s for sure, as their pleasure at playing together is evident in every match on the pitch. Liking each other and playing well with each other is all well and good, but it also plays into some of the criticisms from this season that we don’t have an enforcer player. There is no real player that strikes fear into the hearts of other teams, because of his aggression. Keeping that aggression in the whole team, though, is what Klopp is emphasizing for our lads - even when rotating through them to keep them fresh.
“You lose a little bit if you win all the time. We didn’t win all the time but two, three or four weeks in a row and then it is hard to win the fifth one as well, to stay on track and do it,” the manager continued.
“That’s why it is fantastic that we have different options. Not on each position but on a lot of positions. They push each other. That helps us the most.
”Even though they like each other, that keeps them on fire. They all want to play. You saw Mo Salah, three minutes before the end of the match and he sees his number...
“Dejan Lovren on the bench, he didn’t ask but could I explain it? No. It was a little bit about tiredness but he could have played really. Ragnar Klavan not in the squad, he didn’t ask, could I explain it? No. Ingsy (Danny Ings) ill. Dom Solanke last week was not in the squad. Reasons? No. That is the situation you want as a manager but it is quite difficult.
“In this moment when they are all fit, and it should stay like this because we need them all, then there is not a lot to explain, it’s just to accept and then to play your best football.”
That performance came on Saturday against the Hammers and even Klopp admitted to being almost completely satisfied with it.
“After the final whistle I was happy. I decided for myself that I stay happy for the night and then tomorrow I start thinking about Newcastle,” he added.
”When you see what the boys did then you have to respect it. It was difficult and still good, that makes it so special. The football we played in the moments we didn’t score was outstanding.
“The result is most important but a performance like that after the Porto game.... You told me that we struggle around European games but we won before and we won after.
“A week to prepare for Newcastle and then Porto and Man United in the same week. We have to keep going. We all know if we lose to Newcastle we stand here and talk and it is a little bit different.”
Up these Reds.