A testing nine-day sprint begins for Liverpool, with Saturday’s league clash with Brighton kicking off a run in which the Reds will seek to keep their efforts across the three remaining campaigns on track.
Liverpool managed to squeak into the Champions League quarterfinals in midweek, doing what Paris Saint-Germain were unable to, namely holding onto a 2-0 aggregate lead in just edging a tricky Inter Milan.
While this Reds squad is without a doubt one of the most talented to ever grace Anfield, PSG’s epic collapse against Real Madrid proves that quality on paper is nothing without grit, focus and a winning mindset that shines through on the toughest days.
Adam Lallana, a former Red, who Liverpool will be facing on Saturday, pinpoints manager Jurgen Klopp as the reason Liverpool have become such mentality monsters:
“[Klopp’s] work, in my experience, is always done before the match at the hotel where he gives his motivational team talk,” Lallana said speaking to BBC 5 Live Sport.
“He’ll always refer to different situations within life or within where the lads are at at the moment or the situation they have in front of them.”
“And that’s what’s he’s about. That’s his bread and butter. That’s where he comes into his own.
“Having the ability to motivate players every three or four days, it’s remarkable how he can do that.
“He has the ability, even though he’s standing in front of the same people every three or four days in the same room with the same whiteboard, to refer to something or someone to just motivate his team for the next job in hand.”
The importance of this crucial skill Klopp possesses is even more pronounced at the business end of the season, with the miles piling up on the legs, the fixtures coming thick and fast, and the pressure from the outside crescendoing to nearly unbearable levels.
And while the German himself has been quick to highlight the key role his staff plays in developing mental resilience throughout the squad, Lallana maintains that the boss is ultimately the true master at motivating his side to run through walls to win:
“That was his biggest strength I thought, more so than the tactical side of the game,” Lallana continued. “He was always more motivational, more emotional and that’s how he would want his team to play.
“If you’ve got a game every three, four days you’ve got to think outside the box at times to try and bring some motivation, it’s not just about football and the game that can get you motivated.”
“You’d always walk out of the hotel room and you’d want to play there and then.