Belfast Telegraph

I'll never shake off the fear of losing, says Klopp

 

New team-mate: Trent Alexander-Arnold keeps an eye on Takumi Minamino during Salzburg tie
New team-mate: Trent Alexander-Arnold keeps an eye on Takumi Minamino during Salzburg tie
Patient outlook: Jurgen Klopp is happy to give his new man a while to adapt

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is not scared of losing but the quest to improve means he occasionally "kills the mood" in his post-match debrief to players.

If the Reds avoid defeat against Sheffield United at Anfield tonight they will have gone 12 months without losing a league match and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently compared them to his Invincibles side of the 2003-04 season.

Liverpool have won 17 consecutive league games at Anfield since Leicester came from behind to draw last January, their joint second-best run at home in their history, and are unbeaten in 50 home league matches stretching back to April 2017.

"You don't fear losing in the situation we are in but you still know it is possible, it is one of three possible results. You win it, you draw, or you lose," said Klopp.

"I am constantly concerned about different things. It's not that I want to be. I'd like an easy life but I don't have it.

"I constantly try to make sure of increasing the probability to win a football game and there's always the other team there.

"I can only say we don't fear losing, I never did. It is a possibility but I don't fear it.

"I try to create as many solutions as possible to win the game, sometimes it works out, sometimes not."

Last time out at Anfield, Liverpool beat Wolves 1-0 thanks to a favourable VAR decision ruling out the visitors' equaliser for a marginal offside decision.

The level of the performance was understandable considering the number of matches Klopp's side have played and the travel they have to contend with - they had just returned from a trip to Qatar where they had become Club World Cup winners.

Afterwards the players spoke of not being satisfied with the display and Klopp also knew they could be a lot better.

"I don't know exactly what the boys said after but we were not happy with all parts of the game," he added.

"We were happy with the result, but the game gave us a lot of space for improvement, you don't have to be a super football brain to see that.

"I told the boys what I thought we should have done better immediately after the game and maybe that killed the winning mood. I was really happy about the result but we have to work on performances."

Klopp is likely to throw new signing Takumi Minamino into the fray in Sunday's FA Cup Merseyside derby at home to Everton but has stressed the Japan international needs time to adapt.

The £7.25m arrival from Red Bull Salzburg had his first training session with his new team-mates on Tuesday and is not eligible for tonight's Premier League match at home to Sheffield United because of registration regulations.

"This time we are not allowed, but from the next moment on we are thinking about putting him in the squad," said Klopp.

"In this period of the season especially, it won't be 15 weeks until we use him. Is he then the finished article in March? I don't know.

"We signed the player, he was at Salzburg, so he doesn't have to change in the moment, just be who you are and then we start working on that, and I am looking forward to it.

"That's what the little talk we had was... we really signed Takumi Minamino from Salzburg, the guy who played against us like crazy. Just be that and everything will be fine."

Minamino's integration has been helped slightly by having two players in the dressing room who have also previously played for Salzburg - Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

The Japanese has been allocated a locker between that pair and, while Klopp sees the advantage of lining him up alongside those men, he believes the squad as a whole will make the process easy.

"He was here yesterday, we had a light session and he enjoyed it a lot," said Klopp. "The boys were incredible with him. Sadio and Naby, with the Salzburg DNA, were really nice.

"If I would like to be a new player I'd like to be a new player in that group because they welcome you with open arms."

Liverpool  vs Sheffield Utd

Premier League

Anfield, Tonight, 8pm

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