Liverpool have endured a horror 2022/23 season so far but Jurgen Klopp is confident that the Reds can turn their current ninth place into a positive finish – with Europe not out the question.
A little under a year ago, Liverpool found themselves languishing 14 points behind Manchester City, their title hopes in tatters.
The year before that, it was their top four hopes seemingly blown away, a disastrous run of home defeats putting them seven points off a Champions League berth, with only 10 games remaining.
Both times they produced epic unbeaten stretches, to show not only a rare fight and spirit, but the quality of a truly great team. Now, with even their European hopes under threat, Jurgen Klopp expects a similar reaction. His side visit Newcastle nine points away from the fourth place in the Premier League table currently occupied by Saturday’s opponents.
It is a chance though, Klopp insists, to change the whole narrative of a troubled season: “Do I think we can go on a long unbeaten run? Yes I (do) think (that). But we have to show it – you need to be stable to go through this kind of run, and that’s the difference at the moment.
“Last year (on the unbeaten run) it was incredibly difficult – it’s always incredibly difficult to produce that. We weren’t always brilliant, we forced luck here and there. The intensity I loved the most from the Everton game. That was us. Not how much we were running but how intense we were in these moments.
“That creates the rhythm for us and now we have games every three days, but we’ve worked long enough again on endurance and everything so we should be ready.”
Last season, Liverpool so very nearly won the title with a run of 10 straight wins from mid-January, and an unbeaten run of 18 games in total, where their only dropped points were in draws against the other three teams in the top four.
The season before that, a top four finish looked impossible, until a stretch of 10 games unbeaten, winning eight of them. It put them into third.
Klopp knows with so much distance between his side and a Champions League place, the odds are still against his team, but he believes passionately the quality is there to produce another epic unbeaten sequence.
The motivation should be too, he explains: “Yes, it’s a massive game, and it can change the whole narrative. We have to build on the performance at Everton, with the intensity we showed.
We don’t think it will just happen, we have to make it happen. “We know we always find it difficult at Newcastle, but it must be much more difficult for Newcastle than it was for all the other teams we have visited in previous times.”
Klopp suggested Virgil van Dijk has shown he’s ready for a start, and he also has Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino pushing to be selected, but he is still without Luis Diaz, Ibrahima Konate, Thiago and Calvin Ramsay.