Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned his in-form players that confidence is delicate like a small flower ahead of their game against Newcastle United in the Premier League.
The Reds have won their last four matches in all competitions and are riding high after romping to a 6-1 victory over Southampton in the League Cup on Wednesday, while Steve McClaren’s men are down in 19th after being thumped 5-1 by Crystal Palace last time out.
That makes Liverpool hot favourites for victory when they travel to St James’ Park on Sunday, but Klopp insisted he did not mind his side being expected to win as he also anticipates three points.
“We expect to win the game – we always do and we have the same thinking, but that does not mean we do not have respect for Newcastle,” he said.
“I have never had a problem with too much confidence! But confidence is like a small flower. If you have it, somebody can kick it in the game and you don’t have it. And if you don’t have it, you can get it back easily.
“So we have to be concentrated from the first second. If you travel to Newcastle, you have to get as many points as you can. We have to be prepared.
“To be prepared for a game, you have to know as much as you can about the situation. Everything is motivation.”
Klopp added that Daniel Sturridge was available and that he was pleased with Jordan Henderson’s return to the fold, although he described hopes that Philippe Coutinho could be passed fit for the game was “too optimistic”.
The Liverpool boss continued: “Obviously Sturridge did well in the last game. The plan before the game was to give him 55-60 minutes. It was good for him and good for us!
“Of course, he felt each muscle after the game. That is normal. In this moment he is available for the weekend.
“Hendo is a good example of why players must be handled differently. Hendo is a worker, he needs to be absolutely fit and that is the difference.
“It is better for him how we did it in the last two games, but it is perfect to have him back as an option to bring into the game.
“I have not decided who will start yet. Hendo has made a big step in the last two weeks, and that is the best news. He feels good but we must give him time to come in.
“I like optimism. But with Phil we were too optimistic. He trained nearly normally, but he doesn’t feel comfortable.
“We have to be careful with the muscle. We will wait, I can wait, until he is available. Sometimes things happen like this.”