Sometimes a game of football is more than a game of football. Even when it’s not a cup final, and even though the three points available are the same as any other, it might not feel that way. Such is the case with derbies, and so too with the remaining game, as Liverpool remain in a precarious position with Champions League football in the balance.
In an attempt to achieve the impossible, Jurgen Klopp has tried to downplay the significance of the upcoming clash with Middlesbrough. Regardless of his words, players and supporters alike will be on edge for every pass, tackle, and shot for the full 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon.
“I don’t think we need different kinds of descriptions for this game, so it’s a ‘cup final’ or a ‘World Cup final’ or that it’s the most important game of however many years and everything,” Kloppo told the club’s official website.
“It is a football game. If we really - and I know we do - expected from ourselves that in each game we win the game, what is the difference?
“We always have this kind of pressure; that we want to win the game, that we have to do the right things, we have to defend well, we have to be good organisationally, we have to create chances and we have to score goals.
“So that is not a big difference and I don’t think that anybody needs this special motivation or whatever. In the end, we have to play football and I am really happy I have a team able to do this.”
Of course it’s not really a cup final. And of course, even if Liverpool win, they will not walk away with the Arsene Wenger Memorial 4th Place Trophy™. Cliches aside, it’s still more than a normal game of football.
As we have seen in “big games” throughout Klopp’s tenure so far, the lads are often up to the task. But at the end of the day he’s right, they just need to go out and execute their game plan, and the three points should follow.
Klopp’s words are often humorous and comforting. But no amount of Kloppisms can kill these nerves ahead of Sunday.