The pressure to consistently win football matches in the Premier League is sky high. Liverpool have buckled to this pressure in the past when the club’s first top flight title since 1990 has looked agonizingly close. But this current Jürgen Klopp squad has been developed and curated more deftly than most.
Klopp and the Michael Edwards braintrust have assembled a group of serious leaders at Melwood and results on the pitch speak well for the club’s new strategies and eye for talent.
To win consistently at the top end of football you have to believe you can win, even against the odds. You have to be able to call on players who never drop in performance when the chips are down.
There was a time in recent memory when only a handful of Liverpool players could be described as ‘never say die’ footballers. Now, through a combination of terrific recruitment and Klopp’s exceptional man-management, Liverpool’s players are grinding out wins they would have previously lost and looking like a team playing together regardless of the scoreline.
Sadio Mané has been instrumental to Liverpool’s attacking prowess but the Senegal international also represents the calm focus that the Reds have instituted under Klopp. Like his teammates, Mané is not getting carried away by looking at the league table and insists that Liverpool aren’t bothered by the pressure in this season’s title race.
“We have experience now,” said Mané.
“Of course we are confident if we’re winning – but not too much, we know what can happen. We are still professional footballers and we’re still going to try to take it game by game.
“The season is long and we have many games. Making pressure for ourselves doesn’t help. Why not just try to win games until the end of the season?”
The mini-break to Dubai was surely a welcome gift to the Liverpool squad. The first half of the season was difficult and the reward is a first place position, four points clear of Manchester City.
Now, the second half beckons and, after a little recharging in warmer climes, Liverpool will be back at it.
“It’s good for us to have a few days off and get a few injured players back, because now there’s quite a lot,” Mané said.
“We still have a strong team. [And] the other players are going to give their best for the team.”