Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is vastly experienced at bouncing back from adversity but it remains to be seen whether his players can do the same. A 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace has dealt a significant blow to their Champions League qualification hopes as it opened the door for both Manchester United and Arsenal, with matches in hand, to catch them in the Premier League.
Suddenly the Merseysiders are taking a keener interest in this week’s two derby matches – in Manchester on Thursday and north London on Sunday. A home win for Manchester City in midweek would take them above Liverpool into third but also deal a blow to United’s chances of overtaking Klopp’s side, while a Tottenham victory would make it more difficult for Arsenal to do the same.
Klopp remains optimistic but it is his players’ creaking confidence which will be tested, especially as they have to watch all the action unfold before playing at Watford on Monday. “I’m pretty much used to nothing more in my life than to get up after a knock. Nothing has happened more often to me than this, so that’s no problem,” said the Reds boss.
“I spoke to the boys after the game and told them that yes, it feels frustrating, it’s disappointing, we made these mistakes but that defeats always make sense. “You don’t like it but there’s a reason for them – not only what you did in the game, but also how you react after the game. “There is one month to go; one wonderful football month with four games, so we will not give up, 100 per cent not.
“The boys have delivered a lot of this excitement, but now it’s really about serious football. Do what you have to do, and we will do. “Maybe Adam Lallana (out injured since the end of March) is coming back for the next game, which of course would help us in different situations and that’s good. “We have now five or six days to train until Watford, so we will use it and then go to Watford. It will not be easy (to win) but possible and that’s enough.”Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum insists the spirit within the dressing room is still enough to secure a top-four spot.
“(As long as) There’s a chance to qualify for the Champions League, we have to believe in it,” he told liverpoolfc.com. “If you don’t believe you can reach it, it’s already done. We must have the confidence and stick together, helping each other out in moments like this. “We will fight for the Champions League spot. That’s the only thing we can do now. We can’t change this game any more, so we have to look forward.”