Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester City this past Tuesday left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. The Reds were the dominant team on paper, but everything they did just felt a little off, and none of the bounces went their way.
It was the kind of match where players walk away rueing chances missed and wondering what could have been if one play had gone a little differently. According to manager Jürgen Klopp, the whole squad struggled to cope with the loss.
“Everyone was really suffering and on the way home it wasn’t like someone wanted loud music on the plane or something like that, we were hit by it,” Klopp said in his press conference ahead of LFC’s Sunday clash with Chelsea.
“That’s how it is, we didn’t expect it, but we went through it.”
The team may have taken the loss hard, but one advantage of the Premier League’s busy holiday period is they didn’t have much time to dwell on it.
“We now have another chance and that is pretty much the good thing about the English football schedule,” conceded Klopp. “You play pretty much all the time so you have the chance to be pretty quick to show a reaction, yes,”
“I don’t see any mental reasons for why we shouldn’t strike back from that performance. Physical reasons, I don’t know exactly.”
Liverpool’s next opponent has gone through their own rough patch in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean they should expect anything but Chelsea’s best. Klopp knows the Reds will need to be up for the match because he has no doubt the opposition will be.
“I don’t think that Chelsea have had a problem with motivation for one second this season. They look, for me, for a long, long time this year, as a really, really strong team with a lot of options to change.”
“They are a top squad, definitely. I am pretty sure Thomas [Tuchel] saw it exactly the same.”
It will likely be a tense affair with both squads knowing they need three points to really keep themselves in the title conversation as Manchester City have opened a gap at the top of the table.
“The problem is not the motivation. It was not for us, it was not for Chelsea,” said Klopp. “I am pretty sure the problem we have is just the quality of Man City.
“We have a couple of years now when we could really catch up with them and get close enough. The year we were nearly there (2019) and then we were there...we understand how big that was. We really understand it.”
While Liverpool and Chelsea both have the squads to go toe to toe with City in a one-off when everyone is fit, the depth afforded to the Manchester side thanks to their nearly limitless resources is a clear advantage.
A title race that looked like it could go down to the wire just a few weeks ago is suddenly looking like it’s City’s race to lose, but that doesn’t mean Klopp is throwing in the towel, and he doesn’t think Chelsea will either.
“There are no chances for guarantees, but we will really give it a go and I am pretty sure Chelsea will do the same.”