Is there anything more cliched across all sports than “one game at a time?” For most managers, “one game at a time” comes off as overused and insincere as it does trite.
But Jurgen Klopp isn’t most managers. And we have seen his squad, particularly in the title-winning 2019/20 campaign, treat each and every game like a cup final for long stretches of the season.
After some disappointing results to start the season, including a mad 3-2 loss to West Ham, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been deadly serious since the turn of the new year. They’ve won 10 of their 12 matches in all competitions since the dawn of 2022, with both draws coming against reigning European and World Champions Chelsea.
Jurgen Klopp recognizes the challenge ahead of him—one in which Liverpool could finish the season with two or more major trophies—will require laser-like focus, and yes, taking things one game at a time.
“I’m worried my program notes could become even more repetitive than normal in the coming weeks and months, with one message in particular being resounding. The only game of our season that matters is the next one,” Kloppo wrote in his matchday program letter to the fans.
“All that matters today is today. Yesterday is merely information and tomorrow we think about when it arrives.”
Unsurprisingly, Klopp is uninterested in the question of how many trophies Liverpool could conceivably win. They players might be getting ahead of themselves on social media, but the gaffer wants to remain focused on the here and now.
He knows that if, and only if, you win enough individual games of football can you achieve greatness at the end of the season.
“I think during my time managing in England one of the things that strikes me most is how much focus there is on what ‘could’ be achieved while you are still in the process of trying to do it. We speak so much about the ‘what ifs’. I have my own ‘what if’… What if we just try to enjoy being in every moment. Focus entirely on the now.
“Rather than thinking about the implications a result could have for something else further down the track, we just attack the match right in front of us. Immerse ourselves in it completely.
“We prepare each game like it is a final. Honestly, that’s what we do. Yes, this period we are in is incredibly intense in terms of the sheer number of fixtures. Incidentally, we hope that doesn’t change between now and May. We don’t want it to. The more packed the calendar is at this stage, the more you have to play for.”
In case you haven’t been keeping score, Liverpool still have all remaining competitions left to play for, having already secured their first trophy against Chelsea last weekend.
No one knows exactly how difficult the remainder of the season will be. It’s conceivable that Liverpool could drop points in several matches and still pip Manchester City to the league title. It’s equally conceivable that the Reds will need win out.
There are also plausible scenarios that could see Liverpool face off against City in both the Champions League and FA Cup between now and the end of the campaign. Alternatively, Liverpool could get easier draws that would allow for much more rotation.
The only thing that is clear is that each win makes achieving our lofty goals easier. So, three more points against West Ham, please, and then we’ll go from there.