Jürgen Klopp says his players are “1,000% committed” to Liverpool and not distracted by the World Cup in Qatar.
Liverpool have won four of their 11 Premier League games, leaving them eighth at the start of the weekend’s fixtures. They face a crucial run of games before the season goes on hiatus in three weeks, starting with the visit of Leeds on Saturday evening.
Asked if players are trying to protect themselves to avoid injury and missing out on Qatar, Klopp said: “It is a logical thing, it happens every year when the World Cup is usually in the summer and the big finals are in the summer as well, so if you are involved in the finals of the Champions League, FA Cup, whatever, European league final, there is no player who thinks about the World Cup [that is] a little bit later, they want to win their final. If the last match day decides qualifying for the Champions League or staying in the league, there is no player I know, have ever met, who thinks ‘be careful’ because the players I know, for sure, are 1,000% committed with us here.”
One hindrance for Liverpool this season has been injuries. They are, however, boosted by the return of Thiago Alcântara after the Spanish midfielder’s recovery from an ear infection. But Jordan Henderson is a doubt for a game against a team who have not won in eight matches.
Last week saw Klopp’s side lose 1-0 to Nottingham Forest who are also in the bottom three and the manager is wary of suffering another shock defeat. “Leeds are really going for it, super lively, super aggressive,” he said. “They have real machines. There is a lot to like about this team but they have no result in the last six, seven games.
“Yesterday when I passed the screen, I heard Jesse Marsch say he was sick of losing. We saw his half-time talk at Salzburg, so he is obviously pretty lively in the dressing room. He will set them on fire.”
Klopp will be on the touchline having avoided a ban after receiving a red card in Liverpool’s 1-0 victory against Manchester City this month. The German did, however, receive a £30,000 fine for confronting the assistant referee late on in a fiery encounter.
“I think it’s a lot of money but I heard it will be invested for something good, and that’s fine,” Klopp said. “Should I have got a ban? I don’t know.”