The Sunday Mail
LIVERPOOL are driven in their pursuit of the Premier League title by the pain of last season’s Champions League final and not a slip-up against Chelsea five years ago, Jürgen Klopp has said.
The Liverpool manager dismissed comparisons between today’s crucial fixture at Anfield and Chelsea’s visit at a similar stage of the 2013-14 season when a 2-0 defeat derailed the title ambitions of Brendan Rodgers’ team.
“It is not important to talk about what happened. It is too long ago,” the Liverpool manager said.
“We have enough reasons to be positive about ourselves. For this season it was already different when we came back because of the negative things we experienced ourselves in the last game of last season.
The boys did really well so far and that is why we are still in the fight for the championship. That has nothing to do with other games and I really hope people don’t come in the stadium and feel that way because we need it (the atmosphere) like it was in the Tottenham game.
“Four years ago we were 2-1 down to West Brom at home and lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace and 15,000 people left the stadium because they thought: ‘OK, I want to beat the traffic.’ That is when I said I felt alone.
Tottenham was the absolute opposite of that. No one thought: ‘They have bottled it again, it has slipped through their fingers.’ Instead they thought we have to stand up and go for it. That is exactly how it was.
I don’t know if it was not like this in the last five or 10 years. But it is like this now and that is great. There will be nervy moments, difficulties in the game, but in this moment we all looked ready for dealing with it and that is why I am happy with that.”
Klopp expects Sadio Mané to be fit despite the Senegal international suffering a thumb injury in training this week.
And he believes the intensity of Liverpool’s recent performances is evidence of the team’s growing maturity.
He added: “If you take a 400m race the runners are all together (at the start). After 200m there are a few all together.
At 300m two are together and in the last 100m you go with all you have.
It is the last part of the season and you use all your body, each fibre. That is what we do. We had this a lot in the first part of the season too and it shows the maturity of the boys.”
Liverpool’s captain, Jordan Henderson, is one of the few survivors from the 2013-14 title challenge, albeit he was suspended for the Chelsea defeat, and believes the biggest difference with Klopp’s team is the defensive solidity behind their pursuit.
The midfielder explained: “We still had that belief back when we were going for the title a few years ago. I think the biggest difference is the clean sheets and the defensive record.
That season we conceded quite a few goals even though we might have been winning games. It might have been 5-3 or 5-2, or something like that. We weren’t as strong as we would have liked to have been. Chelsea was a tough game and hard to watch.” – Guardian