Jurgen Klopp is adamant that title talk will not get in the way of Liverpool’s progress.
We currently sit joint second in the table after 12 games, one point behind Chelsea, and having outscored every side in the top flight, many believe this could be our year.
But if the players start ‘celebrating’ early success and becoming complacent, they’ll be dropped, the manager told the Guardian.
“Do not think too much about it, that will help,” Klopp said, when asked what advice he’ll give to his squad about coping with title pressure.
“We are here [at Melwood] four or five hours a day, sometimes longer, never less. They still have a few more hours in the day to be influenced by people around them. If somebody is a character and wants to celebrate position one in November then he will not play in December anymore because I see it pretty quick.
“But these things usually don’t happen. The players are here in this situation because their character is really good. It is a long way to get here. It is not like they are surprised about success whether it is individual or as a team. They had successes of being the best player at Southampton, Schalke or other teams. This is success but if you then celebrate this and don’t be professional anymore then you have a problem.
“It is not too difficult. Nothing has happened until now. It is better to be one time in first place than never in your life but it is not really important in this moment. There is nothing to think about. If I went to the players and said: ‘Don’t think we are first’ or ‘We are first but nothing has been reached’ they would think I’m silly because they know this already. Stay cool, play football and see what happens.”
Liverpool have eight games before the end of 2016, including winnable fixtures with Sunderland and Bournemouth in our next two. With Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City fighting tooth and nail, we need to maintain our current form to keep pace.
We were actually excellent away to Southampton but couldn’t finish our chances. Hopefully, this will change at Anfield when an in-form Black Cats visit. In the same fixture last year, fans walked out after 77 minutes to protest ticket prices, but you can be assured the atmosphere will be very different this time around.