Liverpool are second in the Premier League with almost a third of the campaign gone and were overtaken at the top by Chelsea on Sunday. They have played three of the top five away from home, collecting seven points, whereas Chelsea have travelled to one and were beaten 3-0 at Arsenal, the turning point in their formation and season under Antonio Conte.
Klopp’s 13-month transformation of Liverpool has invited comparisons with his success at Borussia Dortmund, where he inherited a team who had finished 13th in the Bundesliga and won the first of two consecutive league titles in his third season. His experience will help Liverpool’s players handle heightened expectations and ensure they stay grounded.
Asked what lesson Liverpool’s players could learn from his title challenges with Dortmund, Klopp said: “Do not think too much about it, that will help. We are here [at Melwood] four or five hours a day, sometimes longer, never less. They still have a few more hours in the day to be influenced by people around them. If somebody is a character and wants to celebrate position one in November then he will not play in December anymore because I see it pretty quick.
“But these things usually don’t happen. The players are here in this situation because their character is really good. It is a long way to get here. It is not like they are surprised about success whether it is individual or as a team. They had successes of being the best player at Southampton, Schalke or other teams. This is success but if you then celebrate this and don’t be professional anymore then you have a problem.
“It is not too difficult. Nothing has happened until now. It is better to be one time in first place than never in your life but it is not really important in this moment. There is nothing to think about. If I went to the players and said: ‘Don’t think we are first’ or ‘We are first but nothing has been reached’ they would think I’m silly because they know this already. Stay cool, play football and see what happens.”
Adam Bogdan has returned to Liverpool from a season-long loan spell at Wigan Athletic after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Hungary goalkeeper was taken off on a stretcher in Wigan’s goalless draw against Barnsley on Saturday and scans have confirmed his season is over. The 29-year-old faces up to nine months rehabilitation.
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