Belfast Telegraph

Jurgen Klopp feeling no extra pressure for his Liverpool to deliver cup glory

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists there is no greater expectation on his side to win a trophy because of their lack of European football.

In contrast to last season, when runs to the League Cup and Europa League final contributed to a final tally of 63 matches, the Reds' fixture list will be much less congested.

It was suggested to Klopp that without the distraction of European football his side should be targeting the domestic cup competitions.

"It is not about not being in Europe and so one cup is important. This is important," he said ahead of tonight's EFL Cup trip to Sky Bet Championship side Burton.

"How can we be more than 100 per cent ambitious? I know we have never shown a lack of respect to any competition and in this moment I am really optimistic we will find a really good line-up and then we have to perform.

"But there is always this kind of pressure whether we are in Europe or not."

Klopp has warned some players to expect to be disappointed as he does not intend to use cup competitions to give fringe players a run out.

The Anfield chief is keen to establish some rhythm having seen his side fire blanks in losing at Burnley just a week after beating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, but wants his players to fight for their places.

It means changes will be kept to a minimum for tonight's battle.

"We will make changes but not big changes, it is not really likely we will change seven or eight positions," he said.

"Of course we respect the opponent but it is not the moment to rest someone and we have a few players who are now in good shape and they have two weeks' more pre-season, if you like, more time to train.

"I cannot give all players the opportunity to play. Sometimes we have to work for longer to change the situation.

"Of course each week they couldn't or didn't play is not too good for a player but that is how it is in football, you accept this when you start playing the game.

"The only thing a player can do is work as hard as possible, to perform to their best ability in each session and then the manger has to make a decision."

Liverpool had 81 per cent possession against Burnley and despite attempting 26 shots managed just five on target and rarely troubled goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

"There was not enough desire in the last third. We had so many moments around the box where we could have made better decisions," added the German, who is likely to give Belgium striker Divock Origi and new centre-back Joel Matip their first starts of the season.

"We could have done much better. When we were ready for crossing we had no one in the box and that makes 0.0 per cent sense.

"That is what I mean when I speak about desire. We had so many shots from outside (the box) and sometimes you have to try but it looked too early and kind of desperate.

"To create something like a real mentality you need time. The first game (against Arsenal) was very good, the second game not good, so what's the truth now?

"There is no pressure in this moment, it is more a chance to bring the Liverpool train in the right direction and that is what we want to do."

Burton manager Nigel Clough, a former Liverpool player, played down the expectations on his own side by saying the game was more of a celebration.

"Obviously there's no such thing as a free game because you want to win and get through but this is as close as it gets for us," said the Brewers boss, who was at Anfield between 1993 and 1996.

"This is a brilliant week for the club, not a crucial week.

"Ask our supporters. Never in their wildest dreams did they believe they'd be playing against teams like this, never mind who we now play in the league week in, week out.

"We are riding the crest of a wave and we're loving every minute of it."

Belfast Telegraph


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