Premier League • England

Klopp dulls Liverpool Europa League expectation as Reds ‘have to work’ for results

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, September 2023

Jurgen Klopp watches warm-up ahead of match

Jurgen Klopp does not feel Liverpool will have an easy ride in the Europa League group stages, and they “have to work” in order to get through.

The start of the campaign has been a much more positive one for the Reds than last year’s. Klopp’s side have picked up 13 points out of a possible 15 after five Premier League games – at the same point last season, they had eight.

What’s more, in their first European game last season, they were thumped 4-1 by Napoli. This term, they overcame Austrian outfit LASK 3-1 in the opener.

They’re playing in the Europa League this season, as a result of an underwhelming campaign last time out.

But the step down from the Champions League represents a great chance to bring some silverware back to Anfield. The route to winning the Europa League will be much easier than the Champions League triumph in 2018/19.

Being able to overcome tough starts will stand the Reds in good stead – that’s exactly what happened against LASK.

Liverpool went 1-0 down, when Florian Flecker netted a stunner from outside the box in the 14th minute. The Reds remained behind until the 56th minute, when Darwin Nunez netted a penalty.

Breaking their opposition’s resistance once made it easier to do so again, as Luis Diaz netted Liverpool’s second seven minutes later, before Mohamed Salah wrapped things up in the 88th minute.

Liverpool ‘have to work’ for success

Liverpool boss Klopp admitted when speaking to TNT after the game that he does not feel the competition will be an easy ride for his side no matter their quality.

“People might expect us just to fly through the group stage, but we have to work,” he said.

The manager suggested his side have to learn to put away their mistakes, as a better side would have punished them at 1-0.

“If you make the mistakes we made in a game against one of the best teams in the world, you take it, that’s just what happens, football is a failure game,” Klopp added.

“Tonight I could see it in the eyes of one or two they were a bit, like, embarrassed maybe, and that’s not helpful, so we have to learn to deal with that.”

Second-half showed improvement

Klopp also felt that while his side had a poor first-half, they showed the sort of fight in the second-half that can take them far in the competition.

“Obviously second-half we did much better – I saw enough positive things in the first half to show the boys if we do that, if we get rid of the frustration I saw coming up in the first-half we have a very good chance to turn it around,” he said.

“I’m really pleased, because the only thing we had to do today was get into the competition, it’s an away game, it’s an away win, and I’m happy.”

He’ll be hopeful his side can build on their second-half performance in their next group stage game against Union Saint-Gilloise.

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