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Jurgen Klopp hoping Liverpool can end dry January on the road to Brighton

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 5 days ago Chris Bascombe

Jurgen Klopp has become accustomed to a dry January during his time in England. It is an unwelcome habit he must shake off to preserve Liverpool’s Premier League lead. © getty Jurgen Klopp has become accustomed to a dry January during his time in England. It is an unwelcome habit he must shake off to preserve Liverpool’s Premier League lead. Jurgen Klopp has become accustomed to a dry January during his time in England.

It is an unwelcome habit he must shake off to preserve Liverpool’s Premier League lead.

Since moving to Anfield, Klopp’s win percentage when the new year fireworks fall silent is lower than at any other stage of a season, a meagre 30.77 per cent.

Across all competitions since 2016, Liverpool have lost 11 of 26 January fixtures under Klopp. There are mitigating factors affecting all clubs’ form at this time of the year, such as increased squad rotation after a hectic festive schedule, weakened teams in the FA Cup and more injuries as the toils of mid-season bite.

Whatever the cause of Liverpool’s recent January difficulty, they can ill afford it to continue when they travel to Brighton on Saturday seeking to extend the four-point gap.

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Klopp was not aware of the statistical quirk, suggesting it may have more to do with the quality of opposition in successive Januarys than a recurring mid-season dip.

“If the numbers say it, I don’t know, but I don’t see a specific reason for that,” he said.

Klopp was not aware of the statistical quirk, suggesting it may have more to do with the quality of opposition in successive Januarys than a recurring mid-season dip. © getty Klopp was not aware of the statistical quirk, suggesting it may have more to do with the quality of opposition in successive Januarys than a recurring mid-season dip. “So far, we’ve lost one Premier League game in January [this season] and that was Manchester City away. That’s not a sign of a bad record in January. It’s just a sign of a really difficult game.

“I’ve never felt bad in January. It’s just that December is a tough month to go through for all of us.

“We have to build on that basis physically and thank God most of the boys can do that because they have stayed healthy. Let’s build on that.”

As with all such records, Klopp argues this is a different Liverpool, with fresh personnel, uninterested in historic trends. A new question is being put to his team every weekend and so far they have found the answers, but the latest asks how will they recover from their first league setback?

With the club’s admirers and rivals forensically analysing signs of weakness, the Brighton trip offers further guidance as to how equipped Liverpool are to retain their advantage.

Prior to Liverpool’s trip to City, Klopp was bombarded with questions as to how he could win the title. Since then, there has been a preoccupation – certainly in Manchester – as to how he might lose it. © getty Prior to Liverpool’s trip to City, Klopp was bombarded with questions as to how he could win the title. Since then, there has been a preoccupation – certainly in Manchester – as to how he might lose it. “You don’t go through the first half of the season without losing a game, then lose one and then lose your head immediately. That would be strange,” insisted Klopp.

“That would not, in general, be the right thing to do. That’s a moment where your team could be sitting in the dressing room and think, ‘Is he mad?’ because anyway, it was not that bad.”

Prior to Liverpool’s trip to City, Klopp was bombarded with questions as to how he could win the title. Since then, there has been a preoccupation – certainly in Manchester – as to how he might lose it.

Klopp has taken the same line throughout. Part of him will be relieved the pre-City hysteria generated outside Melwood’s walls has momentarily passed, but if ultra-positivity was dangerous, a fatalistic mindset is more intolerable.

“It’s a normal situation. It’s still very positive. Let’s imagine we had one point more than City going there, we go to City and win and then we have four points more. If you want, you can see it like this,” he said.

“It is only for people who are insecure and say, ‘this has happened and now they are going in completely the other direction, they have lost belief’.

Jurgen Klopp has become accustomed to a dry January during his time in England. © getty Jurgen Klopp has become accustomed to a dry January during his time in England. But we have to prove [that is not the case], we have to prove it on the pitch how we have done it so far. We have to prove it again.

“Nothing happened. Each team in the world can lose at Man City. So we spoke about why, what we did, what happened, what we could have done better – of course, but that’s how we do it always.

“Two weeks ago I think everyone was so excited about the distance between and to all of us who are in the job that is just one information in 2,000. It is not more. We only talk in the press conferences about the points and the distance. We never do that during the week because it is just not relevant.”

Liverpool have selection issues for their trip south, with Dejan Lovren’s absence due to a hamstring problem confirmed. Joel Matip has returned to training, leaving Klopp to determine if he is physically ready for an instant recall or whether to persist with Fabinho at centre-back. The availability of captain Jordan Henderson, who is undergoing a late fitness test on a calf problem, may influence that decision.

“If Fabinho has to play as a centre-half – we are not sure – but he has played it before,” said Klopp.

Video: Klopp defends Cup changes (Sky Sports)

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