Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool’s home crowd to help his players fight off fatigue in Sunday’s Premier League match against Watford.
The Anfield faithful were in fine voice on Thursday as Klopp’s men responded to a 1-0 first-leg defeat against Villarreal by turning around their Europa League semi-final with a superb 3-0 triumph.
Liverpool were beaten League Cup finalists against Manchester City in February and their progress to secure another shot at silverware is the reward for negotiating a congested fixture list since Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers earlier in the season.
Watford dealt out a 3-0 beating earlier in Klopp’s reign back in December and the former Borussia Dortmund boss is wary of another lacklustre showing after an abject 3-1 loss at Swansea City last weekend, sandwiched between the Villarreal encounters.
“We’ll need the help of the crowd because I’m not sure how many more games we’ve had than Watford,” he told a pre-match news conference.
“We’ll have a few changes and will try to do everything we can to win. We respect this league and want to have the best position we can get by the end of the season. Everyone could see it was intense on Thursday.”
Klopp confirmed captain Jordan Henderson and striker Divock Origi are progressing well from their respective knee and ankle injuries but the duo are unlikely to be risked along with long-term knee victim Danny Ings, who is also back in training.
It could mean further action for Christian Benteke, after the Belgium striker came off the bench to score his eighth league goal of the season at Swansea.
Whoever lines up in attack, Klopp expects his forward players to receive plenty of support in the opposition area.
“One of my rules in football is that it’s always a sign of a good game when you have a cross and there are a minimum of four players in the box,” he said.
“You don’t always win. But it’s a sign of what we do. It’s about preparing to score goals. It’s not about liking having the ball or passing it. It’s about scoring goals.
“The players need to have common movements so you know players are there. If they aren’t in position, then the more and more you aren’t sure and you aren’t as brave around the box.”
Watford have only won four league matches since overcoming Klopp’s men at Vicarage Road, although that includes two victories in their past three outings against West Brom and relegated Aston Villa.
Quique Sanchez Flores, who remains without midfield duo Valon Behrami (rib) and Etienne Capoue (knee), holds his opposite number in high regard.
“I love this coach,” the Watford boss said when asked about Klopp at a pre-match news conference.
“How he manages the players, they are Klopp players. They have the same qualities as the players he had at Dortmund – speed, skills, qualities, clever. These are the players he likes.”
Key Opta stats
– The reverse fixture was Liverpool’s biggest defeat to a newly promoted side since they lost 3-0 to Newcastle United in November 1993.
– Liverpool have lost only one of their past 11 Premier League matches at Anfield (W5 D5).
– Watford’s only win in any competition at Anfield came in August 1999, in which Tommy Mooney score the only goal for a 1-0 Premier League win.
– The Hornets’ 12 Premier League goals in 2016 is a joint division-low along with Aston Villa.
– The 33 players used by Liverpool in the Premier League this season is a joint-high alongside Manchester United.