Jurgen Klopp has lifted the lid on Liverpool’s new-found confidence going into Sunday’s huge Premier League showdown with Manchester City – while a former Reds defender has launched into a rant at the Mohamed Salah haters.
The Reds have endured a stuttering start to the season, having only won twice in their opening eight Premier League games. And Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Arsenal leaves them some 14-points adrift of the top of the table. Such is the distance, that Klopp has already declared his side are out of the title race.
But they do need to find their form and soon if they are to not lose too much ground in the battle for the top four.
Now Wednesday night’s morale-boosting 7-1 destruction of Rangers in the Champions League at Ibrox could be a season-defining moment.
Klopp’s side played with pace, verve, aggression – and showed a meaness in front of goal that has been missing. With Salah scoring a hat-trick inside just six minutes, Liverpool put Rangers out of sight. After the match, a jovial Klopp was, quite rightly, celebrating a return to form for his side.
Next on the agenda is the small matter of reigning champions Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side are the visitors to Anfield on Sunday – and Klopp believes the mood around his players will now be very different going into the game.
Klopp ready for a celebratory beer
“It changes the mood, definitely,” Klopp said. “It is completely different. We usually drink a beer after away games, but it is that long [since we won away] that I will probably be drunk after one!
“Yes, it changed the mood. That is good but we all know who we are welcoming on Sunday and this will be a different game. But it’s better to go into the game feeling like we do tonight!
“We will see, I am always ready for a change in the right direction, but we will see. We don’t have to make a big thing of it but the best football team in the world right now is coming to Anfield on Sunday. We will see what we can do.”
Klopp, though, was quick to tamper that by suggesting Liverpool will not be crowing too loudly.
“It’s not that we come with a big mouth and say ‘we are waiting’, not at all. It was for us, for different reasons, incredibly important. Yes 7-1 is a freak result, we know that, but we had that years ago.
“Now we have to recover, which is important. The changes were good tonight because we could do it but Diogo Jota didn’t start because I got a call this morning that he feels a thing with his muscle, he can play but should not play too long, so my decision was do I start him for 60 minutes or do I bring him for 20? It was the right thing to do, obviously.”
Dejan Lovren hits out at Mohamed Salah haters
One man who was delighted with Liverpool’s thumping win was Dejan Lovren.
The Croatian defender played for Liverpool for six seasons between 2014 to 2020 before departing for Zenit St Petersburg.
He struck up a close friendship with Salah during his time at Anfield and the two remain close friends.
The Egyptian has come in for stick this season for not hitting top form. And some observers reckon he’s taken his foot off the gas in light of his bumper new contract and the impact of a Manchester United partially to blame.
But after witnessing him score a hat-trick on Wednesday to take his tally to eight goals in 13 games, Lovren sent a message to the Liverpool star’s haters.
“15min of playing time, hat trick from @MoSalah!” Lovren posted on Twitter. “Haters, just continue. Only the opposite will happen [shushing emoji]. Well done LFC.”
Salah’s teammate Virgil van Dijk was equally as impressed.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, he commented: “The spaces will be there [against Rangers].
“The quality [Salah and Roberto Firmino] have, they showed it again tonight. We need it for the rest of the season of course. Good goals.”