Sure, under the short reign Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool have managed to win their Europa League group, advance to the semifinal of the League Cup, and topple two league leaders. But in the eyes of many supporters, the biggest tests yet will come in league play this week against current table-toppers Arsenal, and hated rivals Manchester United.
Unsurprisingly, Klopp has had no troubles motivating the remaining non-injured squad in training this week. And it's cool, y'all:
"I love this. I really love it, but that does not mean I don't like all of the other games! But a week like this, it's not one where you have to say to the players, ‘Come on, be concentrated' and things like this. Everybody is in the race, everybody is fully focused on these games and that's cool. I'll enjoy the work this week and hopefully I can enjoy the games!"
In typical coach-speak fashion, Klopp tried to focus on the Arsenal game first and foremost, insisting that United could be discussed later in the week. Regardless, he did delve into his thoughts about managing Liverpool in his first derby:
For sure, it will be very special for me and my first derby. I was not here when we played against Everton. We've played against City, yes, but I know about the difference between City and United. It's a cool thing and I am looking forward to it.
[The fans will be] very important, very important - but that's not the first time I've said this. I don't want to make it too big and my English is not good enough to explain it, but for me if you are in a club together with the supporters then you should be if not as a family then as a group of best friends, and for this everybody has to play their role, do their job and all these things. We can't do what we have to do in the best way without the supporters, I think everybody knows this. But then in the other way, we know what we have to do and then it is easier for them to give us support during a game.
Given the choice--not that any choice has been proffered--most would be happy with a win in one of these two matches, especially if that win was over United (bonus points for also collecting the metaphorical scalp of LvG). Injuries and struggles aside, these are the games that Liverpool seem to always "get up" for, a tradition which will hopefully continue starting tonight.