Jürgen Klopp predicts Liverpool's clash with "interesting" Middlesbrough will be "very difficult"

Jürgen Klopp predicts Liverpool's clash with "interesting" Middlesbrough will be "very difficult"

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has suggested his side need to be well prepared for a difficult evening when his side face Middlesbrough away from home on Wednesday night.

Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool will be readied for what he expects to be an "interesting" challenge against a stubborn, but brimming with quality, Middlesbrough side on Wednesday night.

The Reds visit the Riverside Stadium for the first time in seven years and go in off the back of a disappointing draw with West Ham United and and a gut-wrenching defeat at Bournemouth in their last two Premier League games.

Despite the need to put three points on the board, Liverpool won't approach the clash with any complacency with the manager fully aware of the threat Boro will pose.

He pinpointed their unusual mix of experience and talent, having only been promoted back to the top-flight back in May, and says he expects a tough 90 minutes.  

Reds boss: Rare for promoted teams to have mix of experience and quality that Boro have

Looking ahead to the clash, Klopp said that "unfortunately" Boro are "a very difficult side to play" because "they haven't scored a lot until now but they don't concede a lot."

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Monday, he explained that Aitor Karanka's side are "a football-playing side with quite skilled players."

"We did the opposition analysis this morning and it's really interesting to see what they're capable of," he continued, calling it "an interesting challenge."

Klopp insisted that while it is "never easy" in the Premier League and "this game of course is not easy", Liverpool "don't care too much" about the quality of the opposition.

He said that they "take their skills", "take their qualities" and "take their weaknesses" solely for analysis purposes and "then we have to play our game."

Klopp stated that if there is "something" they "can use" then they will "try to" and added on Boro that "as a promoted team" then "it's not that likely that you have this quality", calling it "really good" for the North East outfit that they do.

He insisted that they have "experience everywhere" and that they've "a mixture of international experience and Championship experience" because their players "collected a lot of experience" when they finished runners-up last term and "then they bring in [more]."

Klopp said that with all of Karanka's available attacking options there is "real quality" which Liverpool "have to respect", explaining: "They played quite differently against different sides. In one moment they are a real possession but on the other, against Arsenal and Manchester City for example, they only had 20 per-cent possession or something."

The manager said that they are "flexible" with their style of play but declared that they are "always difficult to play", but called upon his Liverpool team "use our experience from the last few games and try to do better and win."

Liverpool focused solely on improving, not our league position, says Klopp

Ahead of the trip north, Liverpool trail league leaders Chelsea - who are six points ahead in first after the Reds could only draw 2-2 with West Ham.

But he believes there is no point looking at the standings at this stage of the campaign, insisting it "makes absolutely no sense" to look at the gaps between teams after 15 games.

He acknowledged that they "lose five points in the last two games" when they "were twice the better side" but accepted that it was Liverpool's "fault" because they "let them [the opponents] score."

"But nothing else happened. You can imagine that we're not happy about this, but not because Chelsea or Arsenal won their games, because we have absolutely no influence on what they do," Klopp continued. 

The Reds boss said that his side "were not the luckiest" in the Premier League in terms of "decisions and all that stuff", insisting that "you have to do your own thing" and "collect points."

He suggested that Liverpool "need to be in a position to fight for something" when it comes to "the last 10 games" and that they "need to be in a position in the table at the very top" because they "are good enough to be there."

"Only the teams who are there can fight for the very special things in these moments," Klopp added. "If the gap is getting bigger because of our results, it's our fault, but we don't think about the distance between us and other teams. We only think about the next game."

He hopes that "in a few weeks" then "everything can change in both directions" and reiterated that Liverpool are "not happy" about their last two games, but accepted that "things like this happen" and that they are "not surprised that things like this happen."

Klopp said that they are "especially not" surprised by the events of the West Ham game, despite saying Bournemouth's comeback was "not expected", explaing the latter because the Hammers "would be difficult" and "if we let them score twice, then it would be much more difficult" which was "how it is."

He said that "only we" can sort the problem, insisting that is "what we are thinking about" as opposed to "distances between us and other teams" in the league table.