Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists his side do know how to handle the Premier League’s “weaker” teams as he prepares for a trip to struggling Hull this afternoon.
The Reds have lost three league matches this season against Burnley, Bournemouth, and Swansea, with the Clarets, currently in 10th, the highest-placed of the trio.
Conversely Klopp’s record against the rest of the so-called ‘big six’ is the best of his contemporaries with one defeat in 15 matches since his arrival in England.
Liverpool often face a different type of game against the clubs who are not chasing Champions League qualification with many employing deep defensive tactics designed to frustrate.
However, Klopp insists his players have proved they can handle this approach and the losses they have suffered are merely blips and not symptomatic of a deeper-lying problem.
“We won a lot of games against these kind of teams. We lost three against those teams that you would call ‘weaker’,” he said.
“If you want to pick out these three games then I think Burnley was pretty special, very early (in the season), it’s almost not allowed to put it in that bunch of games.
“Bournemouth was very special: we did really well and I don’t know what happened there — we gave it away but we did everything nearly perfect until a specific point.
“Even Swansea was not good but it was that we had no chances. Even when you are a perfect side, which we are not, then obviously you will lose football games, that’s why nobody wins 100% of games in a season.
“But I think we’ve proved often enough that we know the way to do it, the problem is that it not always works.
“We are working with human beings and things like this happen but for me the most important thing is that we know how to play them — now we have to show it all the time.”
Hull were swept aside 5-1 at Anfield in September but much has changed for both clubs since then with Liverpool still trying to rediscover their early-season form and the Tigers getting to grips with the methods of new manager Marco Silva.
Klopp has been impressed with the changes his Hull counterpart has effected and some of their recent performances.
“Anyone who saw Hull against Man United (in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw) should be really impressed by the way they’re playing,” he added.
“Hull are still second from bottom but when you saw them playing I couldn’t see it so that shows how difficult the job is to do.”
Klopp believes that while Chelsea are obviously in pole position for the Premier League, Liverpool’s 1-1 midweek draw with the Blues shows there is a long way to go.
“I don’t think that Chelsea think they’ve played Liverpool so now it’s done.
“They play Arsenal now and I think Arsenal are able to win there. Then if two or three of the other teams win...”
Meanwhile, Hull boss Marco Silva believes new boy Kamil Grosicki can add an extra dimension to his side’s Premier League relegation battle, starting at the KC Stadium today.
Silva sensibly shrugged off suggestions from the player’s homeland that he may be the ‘Polish Messi’ — but believes the 28-year-old has the kind of skills to prove a big hit.
Silva said: “It (the comparison) is not important for me — all I want in my squad is Kamil Grosicki, nothing more.
“I want him to play like he knows. He is one type of player we don’t have in our squad, a natural winger. He is a fast and technical player and can come in and give different things to our squad.”
Both Grosicki, signed from French club Rennes on transfer deadline day, and Alfred N’Diaye are expected to figure in the squad for Liverpool, while Andrea Ranocchia could be handed his first start.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved