Jurgen Klopp got back home on Saturday after Liverpool’s defeat at Manchester City and tried to forget about football. But he couldn’t.
“At home, you try to switch off,” he tells Sky Sports News. “We came home early, lots of football was on the telly that afternoon – Chelsea [vs Aston Villa] and Bayern vs Dortmund – so there were a few things.
“One I had to watch, one I wanted to watch so that’s it pretty much. Then you go again.”
Klopp, as per his normal routine, didn’t watch back Liverpool’s loss at the Etihad Stadium until Sunday morning. But even though the dust has settled on that result, it would have been a tough watch. “The second half was very difficult to swallow,” he adds about the display.
According to the German manager, only four of his players – Alisson, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Cody Gakpo – put in a respectable performance at the Etihad Stadium. Such a public dressing down of his players may cause morale to drop, but Klopp says his players’ reaction to that was one of agreement.
“The players feel very responsible for everything, so there’s not one player in the dressing room who doesn’t care,” he says.
“I said what I said, maybe I forgot Diogo [Jota] because he played an absolutely OK game as long as his legs were there after the long injury he had.
“But we were underperforming in almost every other position and that doesn’t help. We cannot play with four-and-a-half OK performances. None of the performances were great and you cannot play like that against City.
“You cannot play like that in the Premier League. The next opponent requires everything we have to offer and that’s what we prepare for.
“We want to fight for each other, we want to go through that together. But we need the good moments as well and the last impression and experience we made was a horrible one because we played there so often and were so competitive, but that day, we weren’t.”
The Manchester City matter is closed and – as Klopp himself says – there is a short turnaround until the next challenge. A trip to Chelsea, live on Sky Sports, is next on the agenda – and if there was any reminder of how far Liverpool have fallen since the heights of last season, then it’s this game.
Tuesday 4th April 7:00pm
Kick off 8:00pm
Both Liverpool and Chelsea contested two domestic cup finals last term, while they were also comfortable top-four finishers. A year on, both clubs are a million miles away from those standards.
Asked if it feels weird that Chelsea and Liverpool are facing each other from 11th and eighth place respectively, Klopp says: “Yes it is, but it’s the reality as well. We both deserve where we are.
“We have opportunities to change and we have to change and we cannot just close our eyes and say ‘the same again and again’.
“We have to change and now the door is miles open for everybody to get into the team because there’s only two or three who have their spot safe. The boys know, that’s one thing I told them.
“We have to fight through this, that’s the only way. You cannot play a little bit of here and there, or play with a backheel five times in a row and hoping something will happen
“You have to really open your eyes, put everything straight and go. That’s what we will do.”
Liverpool were somewhat fortunate that Manchester United, Brighton, Brentford, Fulham and Chelsea also failed to win over the weekend – that fortunate twist makes the task to get back on track even more urgent.
“You need results to get there,” he says. “With the position we are in, we don’t have any kind of bolster points-wise, so we have to chase.
“That only works with winning and winning. If we start [against Chelsea], it might look differently, but we have to start.”
Watch Chelsea vs Liverpool live on Sky Sports Premier League on Tuesday evening from 7pm; kick-off 8pm
Liverpool’s remaining fixtures…
April 4: Chelsea (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
April 9: Arsenal (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
April 17: Leeds (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
April 22: Nottingham Forest (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
April 26: West Ham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm
April 30: Tottenham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 3: Fulham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm
May 6: Brentford (H) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 13: Leicester (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 20: Aston Villa (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 28: Southampton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm