Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has made a rousing plea to supporters not to give up on the season and create the sense that the side’s campaign is over after three defeats in one week.
Ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League visit to Anfield on Tuesday night – a side which Klopp’s players looked capable of beating to the title before their run of one win in eight during January drained confidence – the German said that there is a danger of forgetting everything that has already been built this season.
“We need faith, belief, all that stuff,” said the manager, who revealed that Sadio Mane may be back on the Liverpool bench despite logistical problems with the plane chartered to bring him back from African Cup of Nations, which means he won’t reach Melwood until Tuesday.
“It’s an interesting sign of life that you can change in a minute,” Klopp added. “My job is to put the emotion out of a situation. The main thing in a job is to stay calm and make the right decision. What we have to so this season – and the challenge for us all – is to stay positive. It feels less than average [at the moment] but it is three competitions [we have lost in] which is better than one competition.
“It’s all about the point of view and how you want to see it, and if you suffer under these bad things. Is it possible to go for the best position possible in the Premier League, or say: ‘We failed. We will try again next season with better players and manager’?” Liverpool have lost three games at home in a week and have not extended such a run at Anfield to four since 1923.
“We cannot ignore our good games,” Klopp insisted. “We have a chance to play really good football. My advice is ‘stay positive.’ I really think we should try to make the best of the base we built. I think there is a lot to go for in this season and we should try not [to] judge players now and talk about all the mistakes we made during the season.”
Klopp said that “a lot of teams in the league would be on our side and want us to win” in the match against Antonio Conte’s side. But he admitted that improved motivation was subsidiary to the need for concentration and technical excellence against such a strong side as the Premier League leaders.
“Is it motivation [we need] or doing the right things at the right moment?” he asked. “We need each little bit of concentration, not to try to be special, but do the right thing at the right moment. Do great football in the little space [Chelsea provide you with.]”
He did not deny that Chelsea are ahead of Liverpool in some departments. “They play the system they play and they play with the same team nearly all the time,” Klopp said of the opposition, revealing that midfielder Ovie Ejaria played in Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers despite rupturing his syndesmosis – the point where the tibia and fibula meet above the ankle. “That’s how progress can work if you have these quality players. They have experience and are at that age where they still want to get things right. They are a team educated by Jose Mourinho – the kind of players who are outstanding.”