Klopp says Liver­pool have lit­tle room for im­prove­ment

The Independent - - Sport / Football - ANDY KELLY

Af­ter en­dur­ing one Ser­bian night­mare al­ready this week, the prospect of an­other is vir­tu­ally un­think­able for Liver­pool.

De­feat in Bel­grade in mid­week left the club's Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion prospects in the mix and even had some sup­port­ers fear­ing the dreaded 'E word' - the Europa League.

On Sun­day the Serbs of Red Star will be re­placed by the Serb of Fulham in the shape of em­bat­tled Cot­tagers man­ager Slav­isa Jokanovic.

The odds, of course, are that this time it is the Ser­bian who may en­dure the night­mare, with de­feat at

An­field for the bot­tom-placed club pos­si­bly the fi­nal straw for Jokanovic's ten­ure at Craven Cot­tage.

Liver­pool af­ter all haven't lost any of their last 26 home league games, a run stretch­ing back to Crys­tal Palace last April.

Even a fine un­beaten start of eight wins and three draws hasn't al­lowed Klopp's side any breath­ing space though, not with the re­lent­less pace set by Manch­ester City.

Ex­pec­ta­tions are high but the Liver­pool man­ager is fine with that.

"It's not un­fair, it's com­pletely nor­mal. A team who played re­ally good foot­ball last year in a lot of games like we did, played in the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal and maybe were the bet­ter team in the first 25 min­utes," said Klopp.

"Where is the space for im­prove­ment? Win­ning the Cham­pi­ons League and 3,2 or 1 in the Premier League. "That's how it is. You can say we need to im­prove in con­sis­tency and we did. It's good. How can you do that? Be­ing a bit more set­tled, a bit more ma­ture in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions on the pitch.

"27 points is ac­tu­ally an out­stand­ing num­ber but there is one team which has 29 and a goal dif­fer­ence of plus 47! So you win a game and af­ter­wards you im­me­di­ately be­gin to apol­o­gise for what the peo­ple had to watch."

Klopp feels the two Cham­pi­ons League defeats - Liver­pool also lost late in Napoli - were com­pletely dif­fer­ent and not in­dica­tive of any deeper malaise.

He wants his team to en­joy their foot­ball and ap­pre­ci­ate the fine sit­u­a­tion their Premier League start has left them in.

"Maybe talk­ing about this in a week when we lost 2-0 away in Bel­grade seems quite strange. We didn't want that, we don't ac­cept it eas­ily but it can hap­pen. It hap­pened to other teams as well. We have to use our sit­u­a­tion.

"You can lose in Napoli ob­vi­ously but how we lost was quite strange, hav­ing noth­ing of the game. Now we lost in Bel­grade in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way. We con­ceded two goals and then con­trolled the rest of the game but didn't score with our sit­u­a­tions.

"They had the mo­men­tum and we had noth­ing. But let's carry on on our path, let's build on our sit­u­a­tion, we have to do it again."

One of the most en­thralling as­pects of Fulham's visit could be the clash be­tween Liver­pool right back Trent Alexan­der-Arnold and Fulham left back Ryan Sesseg­non.

Both promis­ing Eng­land young­sters have had their prob­lems this sea­son, Sesseg­non part of a Fulham back­line which has con­ceded a league high 29 goals, while Alexan­der-Arnold was hauled off at half time in Bel­grade.

Klopp has con­fi­dence his 20-year-old can, like his team, find his mojo once again.

"Trent is a very young boy still. He had two weeks off in the sum­mer, that's not a lot. it's clear we had to have an eye on him fit­ness wise, not work­ing with the group, stuff like that.

"He's ac­tu­ally in a good mo­ment. He's played a lot of foot­ball and he will play a lot of foot­ball. That's good for him. Most im­por­tant is that he can stay in­jury-free and ev­ery­thing will be fine.

"Th­ese are nor­mal things. Don't point the fin­ger too much, ac­cept it. It will not be the first time or the last time when some­thing will not be 100% in his life but he is still an out­stand­ing player for us, re­ally im­por­tant for the way we play and so it's all good."

With ev­ery­one fit apart from long-term ab­sen­tee Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Klopp be­lieves all his play­ers are now un­der pressure to fight for their place in the team.

"It looks like we have a nearly full squad. We can­not start all of them, they can­not all even be in the squad. That's the pressure the boys have in a sit­u­a­tion like that."

For Slav­isa Jokanovic that pressure could be even worse come Sun­day af­ter­noon.

(Getty)

Liver­pool have has a strong start , but it is not enough to keep up with Manch­ester City

(AFP/Getty)

Jurgen Klopp says there is lit­tle room for his side to im­prove

(Getty)

The Liver­pool man­ager wants his side to en­joy their form

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