Liverpool are now seven games into the season, holding all 21 points that were available. They’ve already broken club records for longest win streaks in the league and at home, with 30 games left in the league. It’s easy to talk about how good this team are, even when they’re truly playing terribly like Saturday at Sheffield. It’s even easier to get caught up with it all and hope that the good luck continues, that the hard work keeps winning games and keeps breaking records.
Jurgen Klopp would be the first person to say, probably despite being the optimist, that that hope isn’t realistic. Why? Well for one, there’s loads of tough opponents ahead. There’s also international breaks, in which anything can happen to anyone (grumble grumble). But can the Reds beat the record set by Manchester City? 18 wins in the league?
“(There are) interesting games coming up. It doesn’t sound too likely. But we will try and first and foremost Salzburg and then Leicester,” the manager said recently to the Echo.
”Then it is the international break and hopefully everybody comes back healthy. That is most important.
“Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will play against each other in Singapore, very interesting game obviously, it’s not qualification for anything. So hopefully everyone comes back healthy and then we try to prepare for Man United.”
Records and stats are exciting and everything, especially for us fans just sitting wherever we are and enjoying the team, but breaking records isn’t exactly a thing that Klopp has intentionally set out to do. Especially in this league, with these opponents.
“I try to understand how other people think about things but from the way I think about things I’m not interested in the number to be honest. It’s just a number.
”So, you only can create a streak like this if you’re always in the next job. The next job is Salzburg which is a different competition and then Leicester City and that will be difficult.”
Leicester will return to Anfield with Brendan Rodgers in tow, his first appearance at Anfield since his firing four years ago that brought us our current manager. The Foxes are always a tough competition but Liverpool have arguably already passed one of the toughest tests by traveling to Sheffield and coming away with a lucky three points. But will teams work even harder now to beat Liverpool, what with that whole European Champions thing?
“That’s what teams do anyway. Of course they tried,” confirmed Klopp.
“And the next one is Salzburg and then Leicester in a very good moment, a very good team.
”There’s always a story you can create. In our case, it’s always about how many games we’ve won. Even if people don’t say it they think there will be a moment when you lose a game, or whatever.
”When we play Salzburg or Leicester, people will talk about the last time we lost a competitive game at Anfield. But we don’t listen.
”We try to make the best of the situation we are in. that’s how it is. Today, everything was fine. We tried to use the week as well as we could to do the right things in training and still you face a team that is motivated to here, or higher. You saw that.
”They really wanted to hurt us, in a football way. It was not a hard game. It was respectful. There were hard challenges but it was not a hard game.”
There were definitely some hard moments and hard challenges on Saturday at Bramall Lane, but the fact that Liverpool have their first seven isn’t to be snuffed at. The Reds have become quite the formidable foes and every team will and should do their best to try and best us.
“Whatever game you play, you analyse it and you prepare for the next game. A little bit on the basis of the last game. But then the opponent is completely different,” continued Klopp.
“We had to play constantly around the formation, play the gaps, through the formation and they defended that very well. Look at how they defended Bobby; that was really good. So we didn’t find him as often as we wanted. They did that well. And then the half-spaces we didn’t accelerate into.
”We know what we can improve. In the end it’s in our situation really. It’s not about waiting for the moment when it clicks and we fly and shoot somebody out of their own stadium.
”It’s about really working for that moment and we had to work for 95 minutes. But I’m completely fine with it. That says a lot about a team. If it had been the first time I would have said, ‘wow, that’s what we needed’. But it wasn’t the first time. I don’t know how many times we did that already, and that feels good.”