Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Wednesday’s disappointing defeat by Napoli could boost his side’s chances of beating Manchester City on Sunday.
The biggest match of the Premier League season so far sees the top two teams, who are separated only by goal difference, face each other at Anfield.
Liverpool have drawn most of the plaudits for their start to the campaign but go into the match on a three-match winless run, with defeat and then a draw against Chelsea in cup and league before Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League loss in Naples.
It was not just the result but the manner of it that left Reds fans disappointed, but Klopp sees plenty of cause for optimism ahead of Sunday.
He said: “After the game it felt much more clear they deserved to win than after the analysis. Yes they had more chances, we didn’t have a shot on target. In the last 15 minutes they had two big chances and scored a goal, they had moments more than we did.
“But the crowd was in a lot of moments really unhappy with the Napoli performance. We defended in a lot of moments really good. With the ball, again the timing was not good because we felt under pressure when there was no pressure.
“A lot of times it was really close that it could be good but there was no real perfect decision. Now we will have three days together until we play City and (we could) make the boys aware of what was all wrong.
“But that would mean I forget completely how we played three days before against Chelsea, so we have to stay cool. That’s how it is. It’s not that you miss it overnight.
“That night (against Napoli) the first 15 minutes was an open game with better opportunities for us. We have to start anew. Different game, different opponent, different challenge – unfortunately even bigger challenge.
“My faith in the team is so big. We want to show a reaction. I didn’t want to lose at Napoli but, if you ask me which is the best preparation mood wise, it’s losing a game. We felt it now and we don’t want to have that feeling again so we will fight with all we have for a different result.”
If Liverpool need to restore any confidence, they need only look back at their last three games against City, all of which they won.
Nearly half of all City’s defeats last season came against Klopp’s team, including in both legs of their Champions League quarter-final, while a 4-3 loss at Anfield ended their hopes of going a whole Premier League season unbeaten.
Guardiola has suggested De Bruyne could return v Liverpool on Sunday. "We will see tomorrow," he said when asked if he was in contention. Mendy could also return but Gundogan is a doubt and Delph still out #MCFC pic.twitter.com/0e4iDhqJLP— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) October 5, 2018
Klopp has been described as Pep Guardiola’s nemesis but the German insisted there is no magic formula to beating City.
He said: “Obviously we won the last three games against City. After none of these games you go into the dressing room and think, ‘Now we’ve got it, now we know how to beat Manchester City’, because there is no real way, no one thing that you have to do.
“You have to be ready, you need a fantastic football team – which thank God I have – with outstanding character, ready to be really brave, ready to make mistakes. Then it can work.
“That’s all we need to know. When somebody’s telling me, ‘Good luck for Sunday’, I think always, ‘Unfortunately, we need it’. But that’s no problem; if you work hard, you earn it.”
Klopp was waiting to learn whether midfielder Naby Keita would be available after suffering a back spasm on Wednesday while forward Adam Lallana is back in full training following a groin problem.