Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is happy to be within “reach” of the top four as he hopes to apply for the Champions League in the second half of the season.
Unstable results meant that the Reds entered the break in the World Cup in sixth place, seven points behind Tottenham, who took fourth place, although with a match in reserve, and with a huge gap from the leader Arsenal by 15 points.
But a run of eight wins in 10 matches before the Premier League shut down showed they had ironed out these fraudulent results and – although their return to the game resulted in their League Cup defence ending at the hands of Manchester City — Klopp has his own problems. a look at the new battle.
“Obviously we’ve left a gap between us and much more exciting places in the table, but we consider ourselves within striking distance at the moment, which means we have to chase, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said before Boxing Day. A trip to Aston Villa.
“I saw good signs (against City on Thursday). I wasn’t satisfied with everything, I didn’t like our counter-press, to be honest, there was practically none.
“But all the players who have returned from the World Cup are really looking at it now, it’s very important.
“I think some of them could really gain confidence, even when it probably wasn’t that low before, but a good World Cup, like for Hendo (Jordan Henderson), is certainly useful.
“So we’re really looking forward to what’s going to happen, but we know it’s stressful. There are never any guarantees and I can imagine that at Arsenal everyone wants to leave again, the City you saw (on Thursday), they have expectations and ambitions.”
Klopp is likely to restore players like Trent Alexander-Arnold (illness), goalkeeper Alisson Becker and central defender Virgil Van Dijk (both rested) as strong as the team he is capable of, and only Frenchman Ibrahima Konate has yet to return after the World Cup.
For most of his players, the last month in Qatar ended in disappointment — for some more than for others, such as Alexander-Arnold, who played only half an hour for England, and Fabinho (who played one game for Brazil).
But, having returned to the club, Klopp believes that there will be no hangover.
“I do not know who it could be. Virg had a good World Cup, but, for example, they didn’t go that far,” he added when asked if he had to cope with the disappointment of some players.
“I don’t think Fabinho or Trent lost confidence just because they didn’t play so many minutes. It’s not about that.
“Darwin (Nunez), no signs for this and all that. For some it is an incentive, but for others it is a normal situation.
“Footballers are used to dealing with failures or a lack of expectations or goals. It happens almost every year, so we don’t carry it with us for too long.
— No, it doesn’t bother me.