It’s siege mentality for Jurgen Klopp… the Liverpool boss is angry over his side’s Merseyside derby injustice and ready for another attack on Europe
- Jurgen Klopp is creating a siege mentality at Liverpool after recent injustices
- The injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara have angered the Reds boss
- But any notion that Liverpool are now floundering also has Klopp smouldering
- Liverpool open their Champions League group stage campaign against Ajax
Jurgen Klopp gave one of those big, passive aggressive smiles and tugged impatiently at his baseball cap.
‘Do you have any chance against Ajax without Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara?’ came the rather blunt question.
Jurgen Klopp appeared consumed with a sense of injustice after the loss of Virgil van Dijk
Klopp puffed out his cheeks.
‘No,’ he said with a glare.
You knew, though, that this was not the end of the exchange. He might be consumed with a sense of injustice and his squad might be hurting at the loss of Van Dijk, but the notion that Liverpool are now floundering left their manager smouldering.
Already many judges have said that Van Dijk’s absence will cost Liverpool any chance of retaining the Premier League and they will be left short for their failure to sign a central defender in the transfer window. Klopp had listened to all these theories. So after a pronounced pause, he began to talk.
Van Dijk may miss the rest of the season after being tackled by Jordan Pickford at the weekend
‘You only realise, in the difficult moment – even in the questions, it is clear to see that people are not interested in what we are doing,’ said Klopp.
‘Everybody is having fun and, look, it’s the Champions League! Hey! Look at how Liverpool will do this or that! We will give it a proper try – I promise you. No excuses for nothing. I am old enough. I know how the world is. I know what people do.
‘A lot of people speak before they think. But they speak and then it is already out there. We try – sometimes at least – to think before we speak. People can say what they want, it is a free world.
‘But three weeks ago, they said we would run away. Now, three weeks later, we are not even in contention for anything any more.
Klopp has listened to the theories that his team will struggle to retain the title without Van Dijk
‘That’s football. That’s the world right now. We cannot be that excited. We have to stay calm. That’s what we try – and we will.’
Emotions are running high within the squad and the fact Gini Wijnaldum, usually such a measured figure, aimed both barrels at Everton over a number of flashpoints in Saturday’s Merseyside derby illustrates the depth of feeling.
‘The way it happened was really hard for us,’ said Wijnaldum. ‘Everyone still has a really bad feeling about it. When we were speaking with the players after Saturday, none of them had slept because of what happened with Virgil and, as I said, the way it happened.
‘It is really hard, a hard one to take and also a hard one for the team. Since he came in we had really good results, so it is quite normal that people say it but it is up to us to show that we can still put in good performances without Virgil.
The usually measured Giorginio Wijnaldum aimed both barrels at Everton after the setback
Klopp is also emotional but his Liverpool side remain one of the favourites to win the trophy
‘It is a situation that we didn’t deal with before but that is what we have to do right now.’
Klopp is similarly emotional but now is not the time to let a grievance gnaw away.
Even without Van Dijk, Liverpool are one of the favourites to win the Champions League and nothing would settle the situation down better than a convincing performance in Amsterdam.
The last time these clubs met in this competition, in 1966, Ajax won the first leg 5-1 but you get the sense that Klopp is fostering a siege mentality among the group so they can attack the next three weeks with gusto.
The Reds boss is fostering a siege mentality and wants his side to attack the future with gusto
‘Why should I think the boys cannot deal with the situation?’ he said. ‘But the number of questions you ask suggests you think we will all struggle with it. So we have to prove you wrong? I’m not even interested in proving you wrong.
‘I am only interested in the best for Liverpool and for my players. That is what we try now. Hopefully the results in the next few weeks will calm you all down slightly but I cannot promise it.
‘If anyone wants to tell us now we made a mistake in the transfer window; Jamie Carragher mentioned something already. That’s the reason why they don’t do this job and do the other job (punditry). You can’t have solutions before you have the problems. Yes, it is not perfect, for sure. But we will give it a try. Let’s see how it goes.’