WATCH: Klopp vows Liverpool's season will not implode
Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool are ready to ‘strike back’ on the road to Wembley and says he would be an ‘idiot’ if he doubted the character of his players.
Liverpool’s manager found himself in the unusual position on Saturday night of having to conduct a postmortem. He watched a replay of the 3-0 defeat by Watford when he returned from Vicarage Road and identified the areas that led to the end of a 44-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.
There was a routine meeting with the squad at Melwood on Sunday, in which Klopp aired his views, and he came out of it convinced Liverpool are ready to attack the final phase of the season with the same gusto that led to them smashing records earlier in the campaign.
Chelsea stand in the way this evening in Liverpool’s first fifth-round appearance since 2015. They got there courtesy of their youngsters overcoming Shrewsbury in a fourth-round replay at Anfield during the Premier League winter break, a game Klopp did not attend. And the German, who is expected to name a strong team featuring January signing Takumi Minamino, denied Liverpool had lost their spark.
He said: ‘They want to strike back. This is an exceptional group of players. They did outstanding stuff — just not against Watford. I cannot ignore that game and I told the boys what areas we must improve.
‘Should I think just because we want to respond that we’ll shoot Chelsea out of their own stadium? No.
‘It will be a tough game. If we had beaten Watford it would still have been a tough game. I am not in any doubt about the character of the boys.
‘I would be a real idiot if I was (in any doubt), to be honest, because they deserve my trust, my faith and they don’t lose it after a bad game.
‘We don’t have to make it bigger. We lost a football game. Whenever it happens, it feels really average. We want to be very, very intense in a good way.’ The question regarding Liverpool in the Premier League revolves around what date they will be crowned champions, rather than if they will win their first title since 1990.
Such has been their dominance, it has taken an element of excitement for neutrals away from the season.
It has led some to suggest that things might be anti-climactic for Liverpool if they find themselves out of Europe and the FA Cup, but Klopp, whose record in domestic knockout competitions since arriving in England is chequered, gave the impression Wembley is on his mind.
‘One cup competition that we proved we take really seriously in the last couple of years is the Champions League,’ said Klopp. ‘The FA Cup? It’s nothing to do with us not wanting to go to the final. It was just because draws, performances …team selections? They were always reasonable.
‘We play Chelsea with all we have. Then Bournemouth, with all we have. Then Atletico Madrid, then Everton, then Crystal Palace or the FA Cup, right?
‘It will be with all we have. Nothing else, 100 per cent. That is us. What we really blame ourselves for is that you didn’t see it at Watford on Saturday.’Daily Mail