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Klopp ‘optimistic’ about Ajax clash despite Liverpool’s up and down form this season

Jurgen Klopp says he is optimistic ahead of Liverpool’s trip to face Ajax despite his side’s inconsistent form so far this season.

Liverpool face Ajax in the Champions League this evening and know progress to the last 16 will be assured if the Reds avoid defeat in Amsterdam.

 

Klopp’s side suffered a setback following a shock defeat at Nottingham Forest at the weekend, a result which continued the club’s indifferent form this season. Liverpool have been particularly poor on the road and have not won in five away fixtures in the Premier League this season.

Klopp was asked for his view on his side’s struggles away from Anfield but insists it is not something he is focused on.

“In this competition it is not that big so far – we lost one and we won one,” he said at his pre-match press conference in Amsterdam.

“First was Fulham, not a good game, very early [in the season]. [The] first away game was City, a very good game. So, no, I have not thought about it, to be honest. It is nothing in my mind at the moment, I am not sitting here and thinking about away [from home] we have a problem and that’s why I have to say something special for tomorrow.

“I prepare the team for a very important football game and, sorry, but I am not prepared for this question in this moment. I had other things to do in the last few days.”

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Klopp opened up on his side’s inconsistent form this season, with Liverpool eighth in the Premier League table and already five points adrift of the Champions League places.

“The job is always quite stressful, if you want,” he said. “If you win all the time it is stress as well, but it is nicer – life around winning football games is much better.

“Can I explain it? Yes, it’s a mix of a few things what we can see; we see the performances and they’re not as stable and as consistent as they were. That’s clear now. Explanations for that? Injuries are a little bit, but in the very beginning, we started against City and played really well and then we played [in the] Premier League against Fulham and didn’t play well. Played then at home against Crystal Palace, where we played well for – not to forget – very early in the season, got a red card and then drew the game. Now we were playing catch-up with everything and we couldn’t put in consistent performances, that’s the point we know.

“We were now in a good moment until we lost to Nottingham Forest in a strange game with a lot of problems for us. Some players were injured, some players were not allowed to play but were there, let me say it like this, and then you play against a deep-defending side and you lose a game after a set-piece which we should win.

“So, do I expect us to play better consistently? Yes. Am I ready to make the necessary steps to get there? Yes. Very good performances on a consistent level don’t fall off the trees, you have to work for it and you have to go for it in the long term and that’s what we are doing.

“We are working and trying to turn each screw and will do that without being nervous or thinking something is going against us. We know it is a difficult situation, it will be difficult tomorrow here away against Ajax, but I think it makes sense to be optimistic and that’s what I am.”

Read – Five u23 players shining in the Champions League this season

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