Thursday 20 July 2017

'It would make sense for us to play our best against Spurs' - Jurgen Klopp expects reaction from Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts after the final whistle during the Premier League match at the KCOM Stadium
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts after the final whistle during the Premier League match at the KCOM Stadium

Mark Staniforth

Jurgen Klopp is convinced his Liverpool side will rise to the big occasion once again when they bid to get an increasingly challenging season back on track against Tottenham next weekend.

Klopp may be permitted a sigh of relief over the stature of the Reds' next opponents after their dismal recent record against the Premier League's so-called lesser teams continued in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Hull.

A goal in each half from Alfred N'Diaye and Everton reject Oumar Niasse extended Liverpool's calamitous run since the start of 2017 to just one win in 10 in all competitions and suggested they will struggle to keep their grip on a Champions League qualification place.

While Klopp admitted he remains baffled by his side's inability to polish off the division's smaller sides, he has not lost his faith in their ability to fight back when the test appears to tougher.

Klopp said: "In a few days we have another opportunity to play football and we can show then that we are ready for all the other games, because it's Tottenham, who are a top team in the league.

"I think it would make sense for us to play our best in this game, and then we have to prove the other thing (that Liverpool can beat the lesser sides) later in the season.

"We have to show it's not like this. This week we had a really good performance (against Chelsea) but obviously we didn't build on it. So we will have to take the criticism from everywhere."

Klopp admitted to particular frustration with another below-average first-half performance, but will have good reason to be equally concerned with his side's inability to recover the game after the break.

But for two glaring misses from Philippe Coutinho and some resolute Hull defending, it might have been different, but ultimately the Tigers sealed their win when impressive debutant Andrea Ranocchia threaded a long ball from which Niasse struck a gleeful second six minutes from time.

N'Diaye, another debutant, had poked his side in front after a mistake by Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, setting up a result which continues the Tigers' dramatic revival under new boss Marco Silva.

Silva's impact has been immediate and clearly inspiring, as a team stacked with new faces - Kamil Grosicki was another debutant, with Omar Elabdellaoui and Evandro also starting - gelled together superbly.

Silva however was less inclined to pick out the impact of his transfer window acquisitions and instead focused on the way in which the belief of the whole squad has sparked what once seemed an unlikely survival mission.

Silva said: "It's important if we take these players that they can improve the squad (but) for me it's not important which player scores or which player gives the contributions.

"I always want our squad to play as a team - this is the most important thing. We keep our organisation and focus and play as a team. Some moments it's the players who came in January, and in other moments it's our keeper.

"When I came here the atmosphere was not the best and we were the last team in the table. I didn't see our supporters in the stadium but now I saw a fantastic atmosphere.

"I believe, and I want all the players and supporters and everyone else who works at the club to believe as well."

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