More than a few Liverpool fans were worried about the potential for a letdown against Bournemouth on the weekend. After Manchester City and advancing in the Champions League; with the top four all but mathematically secure in the league; with their emotions spent and position safe. A letdown seemed a real possibility.
Manager Jürgen Klopp had similar concerns, and as much as he felt like what the club had done in the two weeks leading up to Saturday’s game was worth celebrating, he was worried about what impact that might have on how his players reacted out on the pitch. That, in the end, made him even happier about the latest win.
“It was a very intense 14 days for the boys,” Klopp told the club’s official website following Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Bournemouth in the league that takes them up to 70 points on the season now. “Very intense from all parts—physical and mental. It was really hard. So what they did was exceptional, to be honest.
“The mood is so positive in Liverpool. We had a walk in the city—which we always do when we’re in the hotel—and it kind of felt like a parade already [but] we still had to play Bournemouth. We know it was good but the next game needs to be good as well. That’s quite a challenge for the human side of us. The boys did really well.”
Now, after their draining week—after two wins over City in Europe sandwiching a Derby draw achieved with an almost wholly changed side and capped off by dominance over Bournemouth—they get some rest. Or at least a week between games to recover and reset their focus to the next challenges.
West Bromwich Albion are up next, worst in the league but a side Liverpool drew with in the autumn and then were defeated by in the FA Cup in January—and a side that just upset Manchester United. In short, another potential letdown game, the sort Liverpool have often stumbled at in the past. But not, perhaps, so often of late.
Then the next big game, Roma coming to Anfield for the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals. Then Stoke at home, the return trip to face Roma, and a Chelsea match that if the top four isn’t mathematically decided by then could be the one that officially seals Liverpool’s place in next season’s top four.
“They are intense times,” added Klopp of the past two weeks—and the games to come. “I’m really happy about the three points. It was massive for us. Everything could have happened—but not when the boys play like this.”