Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool put their Premier League woes to one side with a 7-1 victory away to Rangers in the Champions League, but domestic duties return on Sunday.
Liverpool have been handed plenty of advice by Gary Neville in the past, some welcome and some not, but one word of warning from the pundit’s managerial days could now serve them well.
The Reds have been struggling in the league this season, picking up just 10 points from their first eight games to sit in mid-table. Manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted a title bid is likely already beyond his team, but they remain competitive in Europe after a comprehensive 7-1 victory against Rangers at Ibrox.
Former Valencia boss and current pundit Neville found himself in a similar position during his time at the Mestalla, fielding questions about turning points after big European wins. While the ex-Manchester United captain might not be a frequent source of inspiration, his comments from that period may well serve as solid advice for Klopp and his players.
Neville took over as Valencia boss midway through the 2015-16 season, but had to wait two months for his first league victory. However, there was more success in the cup competitions, with Los Che reaching the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and the last 16 of the Europa League.
The European campaign included a similarity with Liverpool’s season, with a win by a six-goal margin sparking talk of a turnaround in the league. Neville urged caution, though, and his words feel like a solid maxim for Klopp.
“Obviously the result makes it my best night in Valencia,” Neville said after a 6-0 victory over Rapid Vienna during which future Premier League men Andre Gomes and Rodrigo found the net. “But I’ve never celebrated victories halfway through the season and this will not be the first time.”
“I hope to start a positive run but it is dangerous to start thinking about turning points,” Neville continued. “I never thought I needed a result to see a turning point – sometimes we cannot explain how we have not got wins.
“The squad is stronger, more confident. I’m very happy about tonight but now I’m focused on Granada.”
As for Liverpool, the chance to use their win at Ibrox as a platform faces one obvious obstacle. Their next Premier League game comes against Manchester City, and the reigning champions are unbeaten in the competition since mid-February.
Liverpool have already enjoyed one big win this season, but were unable to parlay that 9-0 demolition of Bournemouth into a sustained run of results. Momentum and performances can’t always be kick-started by just one result, and Klopp – who has questioned Neville in the past – might find himself agreeing with the pundit’s words on this occasion.