'We must treat Hull like they are Dortmund' - Klopp
Published 23/09/2016 | 02:30
Jurgen Klopp has appealed to Liverpool's supporters to treat Hull City like Borussia Dortmund at Anfield tomorrow.
Klopp's side have shown an ability to produce impressive performances on big occasions during his tenure, but have also fallen in matches against supposedly lesser opposition.
Back in April, Liverpool completed a memorable comeback from two goals down to knock Dortmund out of the Europa League, while this season, they have beaten both Arsenal and Chelsea away from home.
Yet their one defeat so far this term came against a Burnley team just promoted from the Championship, who had only 19 per cent of possession on their way to a 2-0 victory.
Hull, like Burnley, are widely expected to struggle this season, and have slipped into the bottom half of the table after winning their opening two fixtures.
However, Mike Phelan's team have produced some resolute performances, and Klopp is concerned that anxiety from the stands could spread to the players if Liverpool fail to score early.
He said: "We all know that when you play at home at 3pm, it is so different to a Thursday night against Dortmund in Europe. Is it only because it is afternoon and not night? I don't know.
"You can hear it in the stadium. If you miss a chance in a big game, it's like: Go again. If you miss a chance in another game, it's like: Oh my God. Not the same rubbish again. "If you miss a chance, you stay patient. You don't lose your nerve and start shooting from 45 yards.
"You don't win all these games five or six-nil. Neither do Real Madrid and Barcelona."
Klopp's point is that he feels players have less leeway to miss chances against lower-profile teams, meaning that any slip-ups in those games are more likely to increase nervousness in the stands.
He added that expecting to win by right against teams such as Hull is a kind of complacency that can be counter-productive.
"I think we all can improve: the team, coaches, manager and the crowd," Klopp said. "If you create chances against Chelsea, it's positive.
"If you miss, it's still positive, because you have almost scored against Chelsea. If you miss a chance against Burnley, it's seen as negative.
"That's what we have to learn. No football game is easy. Can we create a special atmosphere at 3pm at Anfield on Saturday? I would say yes.
"Two things are important: The crowd and the team. I would like to see everybody with the right attitude, and not be disappointed if we miss a chance after 10 minutes. It is not easier against Hull. Why should it be easier?"
Klopp suggested that he has yet to tell Loris Karius or Simon Mignolet which of them will play in goal against Hull.
Karius, widely expected to be the first choice this season following a £4.7m move from Mainz in May, has only just returned to fitness after breaking a finger in July.
He made his debut on Tuesday as Liverpool won 3-0 at Derby County in the EFL Cup, but Klopp was coy when asked how far in advance he would inform them who was playing this weekend.
"Early enough," he said. "Before the game, that's for sure. We have two very strong goalkeepers and we think about how they can perform and how their specific skills can help the team. That's what I have to decide." (© Independent News Service)