For Jürgen Klopp, talent is important, but it’s inseparable from drive, determination, and mentality when it comes to success. It’s a belief that informs his approach to the game and player recruitment, and has since he first became a manager.
And it’s a belief that is paying off rather well with Liverpool, with the Reds eight points clear in the league deep into November and defending European champions thanks to a side that is as determined and mentally tough as it is talented.
“You can have the best technical ability but if you aren’t ready to show it then you can’t make the best of it,” the manager noted in an interview with The Athletic. “It’s no different in football than it is in normal life. The first step is to think you can do it.
“You want to do it, you want to achieve it, then you have to find a way to go there. It’s constantly like question and answer, question and answer. Right, not right, trial and error. That’s how we do it and in football it’s no different.”
Some on the outside have called it luck when Liverpool secure three points with a stoppage time goal or bounce back after a difficult start, but Klopp insists it’s a reflection of the players and their mentality, their belief and their drive.
Multiple times already this season, this Liverpool side have found ways to overcome adversity on the pitch—to overcome a poor half, to overcome a late opposition equaliser. At some point, it isn’t simply about luck.
“You can’t just order it and then assume the boys will deliver,” Klopp added. “If it was that easy then you could just tell them in the moment when you are 1-0 down with 10 minutes to play, ‘You still have to believe.’
“You have to create something and what we have created all together started long ago. Because it’s happened so often, psychologically it’s clear. If you do something good then it’s absolutely likely that the next time it’s likely it will work out again.
“If you fail at something then you need to convince yourself. You have to at least see the chance that it can work out. That’s what the boys have worked for over the past four years. Everything is different now.”
Now, Liverpool are winning every sort of match against every sort of opponent. They’re eight points clear and just beaten their main title rivals 3-1. There’s a long way to go, but right now it certainly feels as though everything is different.