Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are aiming to become the first English club in history to win the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup in the same season
Jurgen Klopp on Erik ten Hag appointment
Jurgen Klopp fears his Liverpool team will not get the respect they deserve if they fail to turn their brilliance into trophies.
The Reds go into Sunday’s Merseyside derby chasing an unprecedented quadruple. But while history beckons, Klopp admitted that second place is nowhere for some critics.
“If we don’t win, we will probably not get the respect they deserve because the world is obsessed with first place,” said Klopp. “It’s funny. Most of the time we talk about winning everything, and now we talk about winning nothing. So let’s just try to get something out of the season and then we will see.”
After winning the Carabao Cup in February, Liverpool have chased down Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table. They meet Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday and will take on Chelsea in the FA Cup Final next month.
“So far, this is an outstanding season and it will be an outstanding season even if we win nothing else,” added Klopp. “And it will be an outstanding season if we get to the Champions League Final. But, no, we will not get the same respect for it as if we had won it – but that is the nature of the thing.”
Liverpool have won the Champions League, Premier League, Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Carabao Cup under Klopp during the past four seasons. But just as he did in 2019, Pep Guardiola is proving to be a tough opponent for the Kop boss to beat.
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Klopp insists his intense rivalry with the Catalan could never turn into anything sinister – despite often coming second best to the City manager in both the Premier League and the Bundesliga.
“If Man City had not been there we probably would have won one more title at least,” said Klopp. “And if Pep had not been the manager at Bayern Munich, I probably would have won one or maybe two more with Borussia Dortmund, as well as cup finals and things like this.
“But, no, it is not at all frustrating. I have always in my life respected if someone was better than me. That’s easy, because so many people were better than me when I was at school! I never hated the guy who was best in the class. Never.
“In life it makes absolute sense that you learn to accept your own strengths and weaknesses. It is absolutely fine. I feel a little bit for our people – it would be nice if they could celebrate more often – but that’s it. When I look back on my career I will not think, ‘Ah, but we were only second’. I’m not that person.
“I enjoy the journey a lot and, if you can do that, you have more good days than bad days. If you don’t appreciate them, then I think you make a mistake because that makes your life less enjoyable.”
Klopp believes the experience of the past four years will help his team cope with the pressure of the run-in, but he insists the only way forward is to ignore the quadruple mission.
“We don’t think about four trophies. We don’t plan now for the Champions League Final, for example,” said the German. “We think about Everton and then we don’t have a lot of time to think about Villarreal.
“So we don’t take the second step before the first. I don’t think we could ever afford to drop points at this period in any of the previous seasons. We put ourselves under pressure and then we had to deliver.
“I trust this group more than I can say. But it was never easy. The only way I know is to do it step by step, and game by game.”