Jürgen Klopp spoke to the press ahead of Monday’s match against Newcastle, who have been challenged by both game volume — having been knocked out of Europe — and a sizable injury crisis.
Klopp was clear in his assessment of Eddie Howe’s team, who will come to Anfield hungry having lost at home to Nottingham Forest and away to Luton Town in their recent festive fixtures:
Look, Newcastle did incredibly well and, OK, it’s unlucky you have that amount of injuries but then on top of that, you play international football, which they didn’t play now 50 times in a row. So the whole system has to get used to that – I mean the system of the players. It’s completely different – if you have a normal training week or if you have pretty much only recovery and then have to go again for a big, big, big game. Premier League games are all big, Champions League games are all big. So that’s us a little bit. It was, for sure, a little bit of a problem but they still do really well and in all the games they lost they had really good spells.
The games I saw – and the analysis only starts now really – they had really good spells, they have a really good idea. But at one point Eddie [Howe] had to play too often the same line-up, definitely, that’s clear with all these games. And the boys did incredibly well – I think he’s said that as well. You have to really give credit to the players for the effort they have put in. But it was pretty much the same line-up for a long, long time and then the guys who play all the time get tired and the guys who come back have no rhythm. We had that situation plenty of times.
But now they have five, six days – like we have – between the games and that will help both teams, definitely. We played five games in 13 days – it’s absolutely insane as well. We somehow came through that but now it’s about using that extra recovery time because we are still in all cup competitions. That means we have a busy January as well, other teams probably have a lesser-busy January, which is then helpful, and we all have to get through that as well. From February on, we all have the same schedule again and then we will see.
Klopp urges supporters not to look at just the results, which can often be specious:
First and foremost, it’s a privilege of you and probably all supporters in the world to just have expectations before other teams are playing. I don’t have that. I just watch the game if I have time and I don’t think they will win, [I don’t think] they will lose, stuff like this. It’s football. I am too long in the business to not know that everything can happen and you can lose a game with 30 shots or with 34 or whatever – you can draw these kind of games as well. So that’s all possible. These games, last night or whenever they happened, they have nothing to do with our game against Newcastle.