The talk of the day may be Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard announcing that he’s hanging up his boots, but with Sunderland set to visit Anfield at the weekend, the focus can only shift to our former captain for so long with the Reds in the midst of a mounting a title challenge. They may be languishing at the foot of the table, but the Mackems uptick in form ahead of their trip to Merseyside on Saturday hasn’t gone without notice — obviously, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has been paying attention.
“That’s the most important thing, to get confidence, and they have it now,” explained the German manager after the Black Cats finally found snapped their dire run of results with back-to-back wins over AFC Bournemouth and Hull City. “It’s our job to show from the first second as a big group, crowd involved, that we are different – here it’s different. Sunderland, if they win football games in the Premier League: well done, deserved, whatever. But not here,” added Klopp. “That’s what we have to show [but] that will not be easy – the exact opposite of easy. I really, really hope that my team is ready for it, and I hope that the whole crowd is ready for it too.”
Video courtesy of SportingLife
Coming off a scoreless draw with Southampton last weekend, the Reds will be looking to get back in gear against Sunderland and keep up the pressure on their title rivals. With only Adam Lallana as an injury concern, Klopp could very well name the same starting eleven that ran out on the South Coast in what would be a first for the German manager.
“No idea! It’s Thursday and two days until Saturday. 40 matches? I didn’t know. I thought we didn’t change too much, actually,” said the Liverpool manager when confronted with the fact that he’s made at least one change to his side for the last 40-matches. “There were different tournaments, 40 matches, with a few last season too. It’s not that we say we cannot start with the same line-up again,” added Klopp, explaining the process. “Maybe what it shows is that we only think about the next game and not about the last too much. When the analysis is done, the last game is over and it’s not important anymore.”