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Sunday 4 December 2016

Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool will not relax despite lack of European action

Published 05/11/2016 | 13:06

Jurgen Klopp does not want Liverpool's standards to slip
Jurgen Klopp does not want Liverpool's standards to slip

Jurgen Klopp insists there has been no let up in Liverpool's intensive training regime despite their good start and lack of midweek European action.

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The Reds enter the 11th round of Premier League fixtures level on points with Manchester City and Arsenal at the top, and are unbeaten in eight games since a surprise loss at Burnley early on.

The only two teams above them in the table were both in Champions League action this week while Klopp's side have had an eight-day break between fixtures against Crystal Palace and Watford, who they face on Sunday.

But while City were plotting Barcelona's downfall and the Gunners were venturing out to Bulgaria and back, Liverpool's players were still being put through their paces at home by Klopp as he looks to ensure their early-season form is not frittered away.

And that is why the German does not believe the absence of Liverpool and fourth-placed Chelsea from continental competitions this year gives them any extra edge over their domestic foes.

"For the last six, seven, eight years I've always been travelling through Europe and I never thought, 'oh it's too much' or something," Klopp argued.

"We don't have to travel but Watford didn't travel and that's the only thing I'm thinking about. They have the same situation we have.

"I said at the end of last season, we have to show that we are using the time for training, but over the whole season not over the first 10 games. That's the situation we're in now.

"What's an advantage? The moment you feel an advantage it's already gone. It's only our situation. Did you ask the same to Antonio Conte? They have the same situation.

"Maybe Man United have it from January on - at the moment it's maybe not the most positive thing and then from January on it's very positive not being in Europe any more? A lot of things will change.

"This moment for us is very intensive because we need to stay concentrated. Don't think about the circumstances, use them, use the training time, prepare yourself for the next game and, in an ideal world, win it."

Klopp sees no reason to use the 10-game marker in the league as a reference point for his expectations either.

"I never thought about it," he added. "I think you should not make these (targets) and say after 10 games I want to have 23 points, it would mean you already expect that you will lose a game. I never expect to lose a game.

"It's like it is. We took the games like they were, we did the job, sometimes a little bit better, sometimes a little bit worse, that's how it is.

"It's better to be in this position than in another position but even if we had six points fewer we would not stop playing football. Watford is everything I think about, not the 10 games we've played until now."

His thoughts will include memories of the Hornets' 3-0 win at Vicarage Road last December, which remains the heaviest loss Liverpool have suffered in Klopp's time on Merseyside.

The German will not allow himself to be too preoccupied by that, though, given Watford's transformation since.

"Watford have changed maybe more than we have - a manager, system, players too," Klopp said.

"They have not conceded in their last three games so that says a lot. They play a different system to a lot of other teams in the league and we have to respect this."

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