Jurgen Klopp spent the summer talking about how this current team is ‘Liverpool reloaded’. Based on the evidence of six matches, ‘Liverpool reloaded’ looks like a new version of the ‘mentality monsters’, a nickname of his all-conquering Reds side from a few years back.
In six games – five in the Premier League and one in the Europa League – Liverpool have gone 1-0 down four times. They have won five and drawn once. They have twice claimed three points when faced with the adversity of losing a player to a red card.
To put this mentality shift into perspective, at the same stage last season – five league games and one in Europe – the Reds had gone 1-0 down in five of those first six matches. Instead of 13 points and a win in Europe which they have now, Liverpool had seven points and a 4-1 thrashing in Naples.
Indeed, the Reds went 1-0 down 21 times last season and won just four of those, a tally which has already been matched. They have been buoyed by thrilling second-half performances, scoring 10 goals after the break and conceding none, which means every goal they have let in has come in the opening 45 minutes.
Liverpool never really recovered from that bruising start last term, in which they dropped points in six of their first 10 league games. There were good moments, such as beating Manchester United 7-0, but that was backed up by losing to Bournemouth and 4-1 to Manchester City.
Liverpool battled back from going 1-0 down against LASK in Austria to pull off a 3-1 victory
Jurgen Klopp spent the summer talking about ‘Liverpool reloaded’ and the change is visible
This time last year, Liverpool were suffering a heavy defeat to Napoli in the Champions League
They sat eighth in the Premier League table after that chastening defeat at the Etihad Stadium and Liverpool were eight points adrift of Champions League football. They ended up on 67 points, 25 worse than the season before in which they pushed City until the final day.
Klopp knew something had to change and the club have not lost since that defeat to City, going 16 unbeaten in the league since – with 11 last season and five to start the new campaign – plus a win at a tricky, raucous stadium in Linz, Austria on Thursday night.
So what exactly has Klopp changed? The German manager spent a lot of time this summer focusing on psychology and improving players’ mindsets. He knew the squad last term was not too dissimilar to the side that won 92 points in 2021-22 but perhaps it was mentally bruised.
Like many Liverpool fans who got held up when changing flights in Frankfurt or Dusseldorf or trains in Vienna en route to Linz, the squad was running hours behind schedule. Klopp might have been furious but noticed the team bonding during time forced to wait around at the airport.
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Team building has been a pivotal part of ‘Liverpool reloaded’. Klopp encouraged his confident team members, such as Andy Robertson and Ibrahima Konate, to help boost morale when on tour in Singapore this summer. The pair played practical jokes and acted as class clowns.
Klopp also invited former Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts to give a talk on creating a winning environment by empowering players’ voices and making them feel valued. The British businessman has also done work for England Cricket and the All Blacks rugby team.
It is not uncommon for motivational speakers to address players at Kirkby. Before winning the Premier League title in 2019-20, Liverpool hosted German surfer Sebastian Steudtner to discuss techniques to cope with intense pressure.
Jan Frodeno, the German-born triathlete – who has won Olympic gold and multiple Ironman World Championships – came to Liverpool’s pre-season camp in Germany to talk about mental resilience and how to maximise performance in a physical sense.
It means Liverpool do not panic when they go in a goal down at half-time. They have created an expected goals (xG) tally of 7.29 in second halves, compared to 5.18 in the first periods, and have had 36 more touches in the opposition box after the break so far this season.
Confident players including Ibrahima Konate (right) are boosting dressing room morale
The team heard from Ironman champion Jan Frodeno in pre-season in a bid to sharpen their mentality and resilience
Liverpool pulled off another late compact against Wolves before journeying to Linz for Europe
When a goal down to a fabulous Florian Flecker strike at LASK, Klopp and his coaching team showed the squad two situations where they played well, with the players furious at their first-half display. Klopp told them to get rid of frustration and they would turn the game around.
He is clearly not afraid to make changes, too, with the manager making his first substitution around the 55th minute on average. At Wolves, he hooked Alexis Mac Allister at half-time while in Linz, Klopp made five changes, all of which were senior professionals such as Mo Salah.
‘The boys clearly thought there was nothing good in the first half but that was not true,’ said Klopp on Thursday night. ‘So we showed them the good moments, told them they had to get rid of frustration and we would have a good chance to turn it around, and that’s what we did.’
The German would deny that the ‘mentality monsters’ are back but based on the ruthless streak his team have so far this season, it is hard to not make the comparison. ‘Liverpool reloaded’ is a machine full of belief – and the possibilities are endless.
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
Source From: Football | Mail Online