Jürgen Klopp stated on Friday, that dominant and exciting football is the only way for Liverpool to play during his pre-Newcastle press conference. He went on to entice our next Premier League opponent (and play some mind games...) with his comments about what would happen to Liverpool if they were to ever park the bus.
We are here to win trophies and performance has a big influence on that. We are not a club who won a last trophy two or three years ago and now everybody thinks ‘OK, that’s the way they play’. If we were to park the bus constantly in home games people would whistle us out of the stadium because they think that’s not what we want to watch, and we don’t win anything. So we have to come from the other side, we have to dominate football games. To play, to do, to be kind of exciting. That’s the only way for us.
Last Sunday, after our win over West Ham, Klopp said that he wanted the team to remain angry and continue to be aggressive in their remaining fixtures. In his column for ‘This is Anfield’ magazine (prior to yesterday’s win over Newcastle), he explained why channeled aggression is a vital component in the team’s style of play as we head into the final quarter of this rollicking season.
I want to elaborate on that in this column, as I think it is important. It isn’t the case that I want the players to be burdened by the responsibility or to display body-language and emotion that suggests they are devoid of joy, happiness or satisfaction in their lives and work. It’s about the mentality they display and the approach to their work and the matches. I have spoken before about the importance of aggression. This is very much the same thing. Aggression has a negative context, as does anger. But in professional sport and football in particular it can be the greatest of attributes and a massive positive.
“You can be aggressive in your running, aggressive in your passion, your encouragement, aggressive in your greed to win. I don’t and have never meant aggressive by looking to hurt someone else. One of my most important values in football is that the only person you should ever be willing to hurt on a football pitch is yourself, never an opponent. So, as with aggression, I want my players to display the positive traits of being angry. It means don’t be satisfied, don’t be complacent, don’t think the job is done. Stay focused, stay hungry, stay alert, stay aggressive. View each game as a battle to be won. View each opponent as being someone who is coming to take something away from you, that you desperately want and need. In each game we want the win – don’t forget that so do the other guys, they want it just as much – and this should keep you angry as a sportsperson. If you look at the very best sportspeople in history and in the present day, you see something in their eyes that makes you think that when they are competing they cannot ever be happy or satisfied. This is what I want from us now. Our players really are fantastic human beings, good people with big hearts, and that means they need to channel their sporting aggression and anger in the right way now to make sure we keep this focus.
The reason I have total faith and belief we can and will do this is because I see how they view their opponents and approach these games. Our players see Newcastle United as being unbelievably dangerous to us today. They see Newcastle and understand they have quality and desire and want to come to our home and take the points.
Yesterday’s win showed, yet again, that our Reds are following Klopp’s blueprint to a tee. What a time it is, to be a Liverpool FC supporter...