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Friday 13 December 2019

Klopp: Mentality everything in football

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool may have developed an uncanny knack of staging dramatic comebacks, but it shouldn't be something taken for granted, insists Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds have tallied 10 points from losing positions in the Premier League so far this season to remain unbeaten after 12 matches and open up a lead over their rivals at the summit.

Indeed, Klopp has often christened his team the 'Mentality Monsters', but it's not a characteristic that's developed and maintained without hard work and persistence.

"How important is the mental side in football? It's all, if you like," the manager told The Athletic in an exclusive interview.

"You can have the best technical ability but if you aren't ready to show it then you can't make the best of it.

"It's no different in football than it is in normal life. The first step to achieve whatever you achieve is to think you can do it.

"You want to do it, you want to achieve it then you have to find a way to go there. It's constantly like question and answer, question and answer. Right, not right, trial and error. That's how we do it and in football it's no different. If you are a naturally confident person you take challenges like this. If you are naturally an insecure person then you are pretty much constantly afraid of failing."

Crystal Palace will have to find a way to weather spells of sustained Liverpool pressure in the opening periods of each half if they are to get a result tomorrow.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the league this season and hold an eight-point lead at the top after a 3-1 win over champions Manchester City in their last game. Eight of their 28 league goals have come in the first 15 minutes of each half.

"It's incredible, I think they make a conscious effort each half to go full throttle for the first 15 minutes," Palace winger Andros Townsend said.

"They suss you out for the first 15 minutes and they did that against Manchester City. Even though they were not playing well, they found themselves 2-0 up."

Townsend said hosts Palace would have to play on the counter-attack if they were to have any chance of causing an upset. "My main priority ... is that I need to be a defender first. If we get counter-attacks, I will attack," he said.

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