Take cup seriously or face 'problem' - Klopp

Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2018 by ESPN

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said that, if he sees one Liverpool player downplay the significance of the League Cup, then they will have a "problem".

The Reds welcome Chelsea to Anfield on Wednesday night in the third round of the competition, as they look to end their six-year trophy drought.

Klopp took Liverpool to the final of the League Cup during his first season at the club -- when they were beaten by Manchester City on penalties in 2016 -- and admits he does not understand why other teams and managers would not aim to do the same.

"When you first come to a country there are a lot of things you have no clue about," he told a news conference. "One of them is how people judge cup competitions before you play them.

"When I came in I think my first [cup] game was Bournemouth and everybody here told me you play the kids or whatever. You have a competitive game and you play the kids? It's nice to play the kids but you cannot use all of them. You have to adapt to that.

"I was never interested in that, to be honest. We have a situation and we have plenty of games, so we make decisions because of the situation and not because of the competition.

"It's never the competition that we say: 'It's only the League Cup and the final is in March or whatever'. It's Wembley and I remember when we were there we wanted to win it -- we were close, but we didn't. We will try again.

"It's not about judging the silverware. You cannot do it like that. What we have to do is to be always 100 percent in concentration, rhythm, focus and everything. Only be there and don't think about where it leads to.

"If I see one player tomorrow have the feeling that it's 'only the League Cup' then he will have a problem.

"But I know there will be no player. I don't think so; the players don't think so. Tomorrow night's a football game in a sold-out Anfield, so we will be there with all we have. That's all we are thinking about.

"If we go to the next round -- I don't know when the next round is -- then we will go into the game with all we have. That's the only way I know, unfortunately."

Take cup seriously or face 'problem' - Klopp
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Klopp has said that he will not be making 11 changes for the first of Liverpool's two encounters with Chelsea this week, but has confirmed No. 2 Simon Mignolet will start in goal.

Liverpool are still monitoring Virgil van Dijk's minor rib injury that forced him off against Southampton at the weekend, while Dejan Lovren is now back in contention after his pelvis issue.

Summer signing Fabinho could also be in line to make his full debut for Liverpool following his €50 million move from Monaco.

The Brazilian's only appearance for Liverpool arrived when he came on as an injury-time substitute during last week's win over Paris Saint-Germain, although Klopp has reiterated that the Brazilian has needed time to adjust to his tactical concepts.

"It's not different between him and other players. It's not complicated either," Klopp said. "You need to get used to it.

"It's about positioning, reaction, spaces -- defensively closing them and offensively using them. It's just a football team with a specific way of playing. That always needs time and they were always used to other football teams.

"That's completely normal. There's no time frame to say: 'I give you that, I give you that, I give you that'. It's always different. But it will happen because it's not really difficult.

"It's only because the game is so quick and so intense that it needs to get natural. That's all. But at the end, it's not about changing these players' football personality. Because they are here because of what they did and now we have to work on that it fits.

"Only three, four, five weeks sound, in football, like a really long period. Otherwise, to improve something you would give yourself half a year to really make the next step in whatever kind of career. That's it, nothing else."

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