Jurgen Klopp has been here before. In 2011, he won the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, finishing 10 points clear on a crisis-ridden Bayern Munich. It was considered an astonishing achievement as Dortmund was on the verge of liquidation in 2004.
But when Klopp addressed his Dortmund players that summer when they started defending their title, no exciting team discussion or psychological trick was designed to motivate them to climb the mountain a second time.
“We didn’t expect to win the league again because there was no chance, because there was a big competitor in Bayern Munich and usually, if you beat them, they hit back with everything they have,” Klopp recalls.
Jurgen Klopp has allayed the fear with Liverpool’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City
“So we didn’t do anything else that summer. We lost a player in Nuri Sahin and brought in Ilkay Gundogan, which was clearly not a bad substitute. We trained hard and were positive about our future. ‘
Not that it did them much good at first. They lost three of their first six games before moving to Klopp’s first club as manager, Mainz, for a crucial away match in September.
“I’m pretty sure we were seventh in the competition. Your [media] colleagues in Germany threw us everything they could: “We lost focus. We were no longer greedy. We were still celebrating.” All obvious bull ****, let me put it this way.
“Then we won a game at Mainz 2-1, a really scrappy goal, like a 50-meter shot rolling between the legs. And this team knew at this point that this was the step for us [up] for that season. Since we weren’t bad at first, we didn’t get the results. That can happen in football.
“From then on, this team broke all records in Germany: 81 points in the end, 23 games not lost or anything.”
Klopp managed to retain the Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund in the 2011-12 season
They actually went 28 games without defeat in Germany in all competitions and won the Double of Bundesliga and the German Cup.
“We were really working on it because we were still good,” Klopp recalls. “And we had a chance the following year [they reached the Champions League final but lost to Bayern] but then the team looked very different.
So it is. We don’t have to change. The good things to keep and the not-so-good things to improve. And that’s what we have to do all the time. It is not important what we won last year, it is what we might win next year.
Dortmund also won the DFB-Pokal in 2012 when Klopp’s team beat Bayern Munich in the final
“We never felt that we should win the competition to show the world that we are still there because there is a competition and all other teams can improve.
“It was a great season in 2011-12, but it didn’t look for a few moments and everyone immediately criticized us.
“What I’ve learned there is that I’m prepared for anything you’re going to say about us if the next season doesn’t start the way it should. But as long as I see in my boys’ eyes that they are ready, it will absolutely not affect what we do. ‘
And that seems to be the point in the aftermath of the humiliating 4-0 midweek defeat in Manchester City. Just like those Dortmund players, Klopp has looked this Liverpool team in the eye and is reassured.
Klopp described his Liverpool players as ‘exceptional characters’ and is confident about it
“These guys are exceptional characters and I don’t even doubt one percent,” says Klopp. “I trust them 100 percent. They are not perfect and they make a lot of mistakes, but in the end they always hit back.
“Since I know them, they have always improved, they always strike back, they always understand. They are thoughtful, they think about it and we go. ‘
Thursday’s game in City was curious. At some level, Klopp was right that Liverpool was not far behind their usual performance levels, in the sense that they would normally have lost their chances and the game could have ended 5-3.
It also reinforced how far City has fallen this season, as losing eight games if you are able to play against Liverpool like that means a huge flaw in consistency throughout the season.
But despite Klopp’s protests, it would be hard to argue that Andy Robertson, Joe Gomez, and Sadio Mané, among others, were not far below their usual standards.
Aston Villa will undoubtedly feel the backlash on Sunday, with Liverpool returning to Anfield as champions and the club desperate for supporters to stay at home and respect government rules for corona virus gatherings.
Matt Ashton and Klopp, Liverpool’s health director, have sent a joint message to fans asking them not to gather at Anfield.
Klopp emphasized that he can now get over defeats faster than before
Klopp, who was irritable in his post-match interview in the post-match interview, claims his mood improved when he walked into Melwood on Friday morning ‘because this is where we change things.’
He explains, “Sometimes I need more than one night [to get over a defeat] but not much more, just because long ago in my life I decided that things that I can’t change don’t bother [about].
“I can’t change the result [at City]; I can only use it for the next game. You can’t stop the feeling and a defeat really feels very average. It needs time. But sometimes people give themselves too much time to suffer from something that has failed.
“I don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m not talented at that. I am very self-critical and often give myself time for things I didn’t like. But I don’t feel sorry for myself because I think that as long as I am healthy, I can influence my situation.
“If I come in and yell at the players like crazy, we can suffer longer. If you focus on the facts, you’ll see, “Okay, it’s done. The boss isn’t 100 percent, of course, but we’re already working on solutions, so let’s move on. ‘