Many of Liverpool’s poor performances this season were written off as indicative of more depth needed in key positions, especially midfield. When watching a lackluster Liverpool play, however, it was impossible to avoid questioning the intangibles: certainly more depth would help, but it didn’t explain fully why 11+ quite good players were simply playing poorly.
In his pre-Bournemouth press conference, head coach Jürgen Klopp was clear on the mood in the camp following the 7-0 crime committed against the deeply unserious Manchester United:
There’s no better mood-booster than a good game for us. Of course you see it in training. We had consistency in the league in the last five games but confidence is a fragile little flower and we have to make sure we keep that.
As Klopp emphasizes, the confidence boost is great news, but it needs keeping up: while the 7-0 suddenly made the second leg against Real Madrid feel a bit less like a dead rubber, a mis-step against Bournemouth could undo all the good feeling.
For Klopp, this means showing some fight against Bournemouth on Saturday — and he anticipates a challenge:
We have to chase and challenge everyone. The main thing is going to Bournemouth and playing a game there. I watched the way they play and it can be really uncomfortable for teams. We might fight for the UCL spots but the fight for staying in the league is just as exciting. I’m sure Bournemouth will fight like crazy.
Though the 12:30PM kick-off away is a challenge to “get up” for, Klopp hopes a solid defense and good atmosphere on the pitch can help his side get things done:
We need more, but fine. [Strong defense is] the basis for everything. The way you defend gives you the stability to attack. The performance is something we have to build on.
Bournemouth play a different system [than the last meeting] and we don’t play at home. We have to show consistency and make sure we create the atmosphere on the pitch.