Friday 18 August 2017

'The team has no issue with handling pressure' - Klopp backs Liverpool to hold nerve in top four race

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Reuters
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Reuters

Luke Brown

Jurgen Klopp has angrily hit back at claims that his Liverpool side cannot handle pressure, instead claiming that his team perform better when the odds are against them.

Liverpool have had another enigmatic season and sit third in the table despite dropping points against a number of teams in the bottom half.

With three games left, Liverpool are four points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, although they have played a game in more.

On paper, Liverpool have one of the easiest run-ins of the four teams fighting for the remaining two Champions League places, with matches against Southampton, West Ham and Middlesbrough.

But the club's habit of losing big matches under Klopp - including the League Cup and Europa League finals last season, as well as the League Cup semi-final tie against Southampton this season - has led some to question whether Liverpool will have the steel to win their remaining matches and seal a spot in the top four.

Klopp, however, feels that is unfair, saying: "Since I have been here we have had just one semi-final defeat.

"We had a very good performance against City in the final - so that was not about not handling pressure well. Yes, we did not win the shoot-out… but everybody would say that is more luck than pressure.

"So the team has no issue with handling pressure. We talk about one game and then forget five or six other games where we handled pressure really well. So far I haven't seen a sign that we cannot handle pressure. In fact, I actually thought that when we had pressure we are always at our best."

Klopp also said that Liverpool are well-placed to beat Manchester City, United and Arsenal to third-place and that the club's demand for "the biggest dreams" meant that a top-four finish is a necessity.

"Liverpool must always follow the biggest dreams," Klopp added.

Liverpool v Southampton, Live, Sky Sports 1, 1.30

Independent News Service

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