Jurgen Klopp refuses to put limits on Liverpool as season reaches climax
Published 19/03/2016 | 13:31
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp refuses to put limits on what his side can achieve this season with the Reds currently riding the crest of a wave.
He admits their Barclays Premier League destiny is largely in the hands of others but they could receive a huge favour from their rivals this weekend as their unlikely bid for the top four gathers momentum.
West Ham, in fifth, head to Chelsea while on Sunday there is the Manchester derby and, as Liverpool trail fourth-placed City by seven points with a match in hand, there could be more ground to be made up if they can register their fourth successive league win for the first time in 12 months at Southampton.
Knocking arch-rivals Manchester United out of the Europa League in midweek has boosted morale further and Klopp is keen to tap into that but he will not set his players a target as they chase the top four.
"If it would help I would do it but I don't think it makes too much sense because there is only Southampton and then there is a two-week break where all the players are all around the world and so that is pretty difficult," he said.
"They have two pretty important games for their national teams and it is the last test before the squads will be made for the European Championships so it is an intensive time for the players."
Asked whether there was still the possibility to do something special in the final two months of the campaign, Klopp added: "The only thing I can say is 'hopefully'.
"It is difficult to imagine what could happen but the only thing we can do is do our best and get whatever we can get and that is what we have tried in the last few weeks.
"In the position we are in if you want to get up in the table you have to watch what other teams are doing, which makes no sense as we have no influence over it.
"We have to win our games as often as possible and see what happens."
Former Saints centre-back Dejan Lovren returns to his former club in arguably his best form since his £20million move in the summer of 2014.
His pairing with Mamadou Sakho, who like his defensive partner has enjoyed an up-and-down Anfield career so far, has improved in recent weeks and Thursday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford saw both of them put in impressive performances.
Lovren failed to live up to his inflated price tag under former manager Brendan Rodgers and his confidence suffered in his first season at the club but Klopp has seen the player grow in stature in the last few months.
"What can I say about Dejan Lovren? I heard before I came here and I saw in his eyes when I came here that he wasn't in the best situation," said the German, who also has a Europa League quarter-final against former club Borussia Dortmund to look forward to after Friday's draw.
"But he's been really good. The only game in my mind was Liverpool against Dortmund in the pre-season friendly (in 2014 when Klopp was in the opposition dug out).
"It was his first game for Liverpool and he was outstanding in this game so I was pretty positive.
"Sometimes for players it's a good thing with a complete change.
"You can start new. That's what he did and now everyone can see what he's capable of.
"Both centre-halves on Thursday night were brilliant."
Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno is a doubt for St Mary's after missing Thursday's game with a hamstring problem but Klopp at least has an ideal replacement.
Against United he had to deploy midfielder James Milner at left-back as Jon Flanagan was not registered but the 23-year-old academy graduate will return at the weekend buoyed by signing a new three-year contract.
The England international would most likely come in on the right with another former Saint Nathaniel Clyne switching to the left, as he has done previously this season.