London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp praised his Liverpool players’ fighting qualities as the runaway Premier League leaders prepare to take on a team in the relegation zone for the third consecutive match.
Liverpool face second-bottom Watford on Saturday on the cusp of their 19th league win, which would set a new record in English football.
It follows hard-fought victories in the past two weeks against struggling Norwich and West Ham.
“We have to be 100 percent ready for these fights and that’s what I love most about my boys, that they are ready to fight,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“It’s not that when they realise in a game it’s not the clicking day today that they then lose the desire or whatever.
“No, it’s the other way around — that we try it in a different way and try to find another way and that’s really brought us in the position we are.”
Klopp is anticipating a physical battle against Nigel Pearson’s Watford, who have taken just two points from a possible 15 after a good run of form, and said his side would have to match their desire.
– Tough battles –
The German manager said he did not need recent results to prove to him the difficulties of facing teams mired in the lower reaches of the table.
“You cannot imagine if you see Norwich playing or West Ham playing against us or Watford now that they are at the bottom of the table,” he said. “You don’t feel it, you don’t see it really.
“They have some problems. For Watford it was probably the start of the season. It’s difficult, not a lot of points and then you have to make a turnaround.”
Klopp said Pearson was doing an “exceptional” job at Vicarage Road despite their recent drop-off in results.
“We just have to fight for each inch of grass and in that game again if we do that we are difficult to play,” he said. “If we are difficult to play we have a chance to win. If we have a chance to win we should use it.”
Klopp was told at the beginning of his press conference that it was Global Scouse Day, an annual celebration of the city of Liverpool.
When asked whether he was officially a Scouser, Klopp said: “No, not officially I think but half official. Last week Gerry Marsden (who sang the club’s anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone”) gave me that honour.”
The German said he liked to identify with the area where he lived, adding: “It’s not that I’m used to all the things which are common here but more and more but I like it. It’s interesting and a nice thing to have.”
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