Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has conceded that his side have yet to hit their free-flowing heights of last season, but said they are still in a strong position ahead of Fulham’s visit to Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Merseyside club remain unbeaten in the league, along with leaders Manchester City and Chelsea, and are two points off the top of the table.
Yet aside from a 4-1 thumping of Cardiff City, Liverpool‘s attacking juggernaut has slowed of late with three draws in their last five league matches and a timid 2-0 defeat by Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Liverpool were the second-highest scorers in the top-flight in 2017-18 with 84 goals behind City’s 106, and Klopp said that the comparison to last season may be contributing to dampened spirits at Anfield.
“The season so far point-wise is really successful but it doesn’t feel like that for two reasons — the comparison with the free-flowing football (from) last season in a few games, and City and Chelsea playing a good season,” he told a news conference on Friday.
“People seem to be saying this season will only be a success if we become champions. We go for everything but we have to build on our situation, to get better and more confident.
“On Tuesday (it) was a massive knock that wasn’t expected. We have to react in the right way.”
“We can do better, that’s always the case. There’s only been two games (we have struggled), now Red Star and Napoli. But our football so far (this season) has been pretty successful,” he added.
Klopp said that midfielder Jordan Henderson and defender Joe Gomez were available for Sunday’s clash after recovering from injury and the German singled out the former for his impact on the pitch.
“When Jordan isn’t available, we always miss him,” Klopp said. “I’d love to say Hendo would have changed the whole game against Red Star but the whole game was strange.”
Victory on Sunday would give the club a timely boost heading into the international break, although Klopp warned fans not to have a late one on Saturday night.
“Another challenge is the 12 o’clock kickoff. Please go to bed early on Saturday night and come to Anfield in your best shape,” he urged supporters with a smile.