In an exclusive interview with Goal.com’s Melissa Reddy, Jürgen Klopp has given fans an insight into his thoughts on Liverpool’s confidence blow at the beginning of this year and much more.
Klopp sat down with Reddy on Liverpool’s pre-season trip to Hong Kong and offered a real insight into the way he thinks as the club’s manager and how he thinks his team should deal with the thoughts of pundits and individuals from outside the club.
Reddy points out Klopp’s desire to delve into the personal lives of his players and ex-players and believes it’s an important part of management in the modern era.
Sadio Mané, Emre Can, Danny Ings, Andy Robertson 🔴🔴🔴🔴 pic.twitter.com/mOej4KyDxY
— Viktor Fagerström (@ViktorFagerLFC) July 25, 2017
The Reds boss is said to have been ‘perplexed’ when a member of staff didn’t know that new signing Andy Robertson was about to become a father. He said: “How can you not know that? That’s the biggest thing in his life now. Come on!”
It is also revealed that Klopp created a WhatsApp group for him and his players to communicate on during the summer. When some players sent videos of them on treadmills Klopp said: ‘Ah interesting, so you think that is what running is? Incorrect.” After that, his players made sure they were running on beaches, tracks and in parks.
Reflecting on last season and his teams difficulties at the very beginning of this year, Klopp said:
“I would say we were completely confident until December 31 when we played Manchester City.
“It was an outstanding battle for both sides with the 1-0 deserved, but anything could have happened in that match.
“Two days later, we played against Sunderland, a completely different game, but that was a draw. They are a deep-defending side, but twice we got past them and they needed two penalties to get a point, but immediately afterwards there was the feeling from the players of ‘oh, maybe we’re not good enough. We’ve wasted our chance. We had the situation and we didn’t use it.’
“It was only one game! Everybody gave points away, even Chelsea – okay not too often because they were champions at the end, but it happened. It’s all about how you handle these situations and it’s something we are really working on to be stronger in.”
Klopp is also a strong believer that there should be no ‘plan B’ for his team and is keen for his players to block out comments from elsewhere. He believes that the only person players should listen to advice from his him, so that everybody is working towards the same idea. He added:
“We had two major issues in January obviously: not enough confidence as we should have had in ourselves, and too many injuries plus Sadio (Mane) being away at the Africa Cup of Nations while the games didn’t seem to stop.
“Then in February, we suffered from the intensity of the month before, and we were back in March. We won games again, but then people were saying, ‘it’s not the same football, they are struggling,’ and this again gave the players doubt.
“They listen to these voices, the whole club listens to these voices that go ‘oh, it’s again like this, they don’t have Plan B for deep-defending sides, they can only play one way.’
“We smashed teams at the start of last season by altering our style in different ways to play to our strengths and minimise the opposition’s like against West Brom at Anfield. We limited their set-piece situations, which we know they are really dangerous from.
“The talk of Plan B shows a lack of understanding. In the moment when you are not feeling confident, you cannot change too many things – that’s insecurity.
“It’s not about showing what you can do – like ‘hey, here is Plan D, F, Q!’ My job is not to prove that I can do 1000 different techniques or no-looking coaching or whatever, it is to do what is best for the players I have, with our skills, in the situation we are in.
“When I hear or read these things about us, I know I 100 per cent do not listen. But oh my god, everybody else listens, so we have to block that out and focus on us and our way.”