There is a tendency for some to see the EFL Cup as a distraction. Maybe as a chance to run out a squad made up entirely of youth and fringe players. Without Europe this season, though, Jürgen Klopp said at the start of the season that he intended to field strong lineups in every competition Liverpool were in.
Liverpool have just three competitions to worry about this year, and Klopp believes they can challenge on every front. He also believes that good results in one competition can help to feed into the results in another; that the focus must always be on getting this result rather than looking on to the next.
“To stay in this good way we must remain focused and must keep working hard and not get distracted,” Klopp said today in his pre-match note. “I understand why there is always a desire to fast-forward and envisage what might be and what might happen, but that is not for us to get caught up in.
“If I thought it was helpful or would benefit us to speculate or think about situations in the future, I would be the first to do it. But my experience tells me this doesn’t have any positive impact. So we continue to focus on the present and I’m very pleased the players have shown they too have this attitude.”
Tonight, Klopp’s focus won’t be on the quarter-finals of the EFL cup or on next weekend’s Premier League game. For the sake of Liverpool’s chances both of making it to that quarter-final and to winning that next league game, the only focus will be on tonight. To Klopp, the EFL Cup isn’t a distraction.
“When our journey in this cup started at Burton Albion it was our goal to go all the way,” he added. “I think a club like ours must have the attitude that when we are in a competition we must try everything within our power to win it.”