JÜRGEN KLOPP has called on Anfield to create a “special atmosphere” when Liverpool take on Hull City on Saturday.
With a narrative growing that the Reds struggle against teams that “park the bus”, Klopp hit back in his pre-match press conference at Melwood today.
Pointing to performances against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, Klopp said all of those sides offered Liverpool little space yet the Reds were able to score goals and win seven of the nine points available.
And the manager reckons both fans and players need to be positive when Liverpool take to the field against Mike Phelan’s side this weekend.
Klopp said: “Atmosphere is important both from crowd and team. I would like to see everyone come with right expectations. Is it possible to create a more special atmosphere? Let’s try it. I’d love to see everyone go into it with the right expectation.”
Since Klopp took over at Liverpool last October, he has regularly pointed fingers at the crowd for the atmosphere at home games, criticising fans who leave early and, after the Leicester City game this season, even questioning the timing of singing his name.
In today’s conference it was clear he thinks Anfield isn’t always a positive place if things aren’t going Liverpool’s way — and that can have knock-on effect when it comes to players’ performances.
Klopp said: “You miss a chance in another game, it’s like ‘c’mon not the same shit, rubbish again’. It will be difficult. If we can accept that before the game we won’t be surprised. It’s important not to lose your nerve and shoot from 45 yards. You need to stay in the races in these kind of games.
“I want a special atmosphere at 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon. At Anfield two things that are important: the crowd and the team. I think we can all improve – the team, the manager, the staff and the fans.
“We have to go to Anfield on Saturday afternoon in the most positive mood we have ever been in. I know we will be ready.”
Klopp also emphasised there are no question marks over his players’ attitude regardless of who the opposition is.
He explained: “We didn’t care about the opponent before we played Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham. It’s not about the name in our preparations. We need to be maximum concentrated. Greedy. Angry. Really nothing has happened until now. It’s only a few games. We need to find stability.
“We are still working on trying to find solutions. It’s a simple game but it’s difficult to win. It’s not about celebrating ourselves. We need to be angry against Hull. They want our points. We have to think about why people think we have problems against bus parking.
“I don’t want to say anything about Hull. We don’t have to rate the opponent before the game and say, ‘This one is easy’.”
Klopp remained tight-lipped on the goalkeeper question, refusing to reveal who of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius will start the match on Saturday. The German summer signing was given the nod for the League Cup win at Derby County but so far Mignolet has started every Premier League game.
He said: “This isn’t the place to announce line ups. We have to think about it in a positive way. When I decide it is a decision for one player and not against another player. The decision for the next game doesn’t mean that will be the decision for the next five years. I am really happy with both of them, it’s a decision at the highest level.”
Asked about Liverpool’s draw against Tottenham Hotspur in the next round of the League Cup, Klopp said he was “happy to be playing at home”.
He added: “It’s the first draw I saw live. West Ham v Chelsea made me smile. Manchester United v Manchester City…nice, and another smile.
“Without European nights, let’s take what we can get. The draw is a big boost for the cup. When I came here, I had to explain why I put out strong sides. These games are exciting.”
Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum are in contention for selection for Saturday’s game but Joe Gomez is still not in full training yet.