WATFORD, Dec 19 ― Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne says Jurgen Klopp’s vibrant personality has infused his side with the belief they can win the Premier League this season.
Klopp’s side are 11 points behind leaders Leicester City in ninth place as they prepare to face Watford at Vicarage Road tomorrow.
But England right-back Clyne believes Klopp has already made such a positive impression since replacing Brendan Rodgers as Reds boss in October that a title challenge is still a distinct possibility.
Liverpool are without a win in their last three matches in all competitions, yet morale remains high after they recovered to rescue a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion last weekend thanks to Divock Origi’s strike deep into stoppage time.
Klopp celebrated Origi’s equaliser by leading his players over to the famous Kop end of Anfield to take a bow in front of the fans and it is that kind of spontaneous enthusiasm which has convinced Clyne that Liverpool’s manager has the club on the verge of something special.
“The manager said it was the best crowd since he has been at the club and he was giving something back to them,” Clyne told the Daily Telegraph.
“We didn’t know it was going to happen and it took me by surprise.
“What we did there showed we could get the crowd more motivated by doing that salute. Liverpool has a big atmosphere and we know if we get that crowd going it makes us play better.
“We were under the cosh and in the last minute we equalised. It was a good moment for us.”
With Chelsea in crisis, Leicester unlikely to sustain their remarkable run and Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all showing signs of vulnerability, Clyne sees no reason why Liverpool can’t get involved in the title race, or at least finish in the top four.
“Can we win the title? Yeah, it’s a possibility. Our target is definitely to get into the top four and we are in all the cup competitions,” he added.
“We are doing really well. The league is unpredictable. It keeps everyone excited, not knowing what is going to happen.”
James Milner will be sidelined tomorrow after the Liverpool midfielder felt discomfort in his calf during training, while injured duo Dejan Lovren and Daniel Sturridge are also ruled out.
Although Watford have enjoyed an impressive first season back in the top flight, they have yet to claim the scalp of one of the big guns after matches against Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United all ended in defeat.
In their first meeting with Liverpool in almost nine years, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side believe they can put the record straight with a first victory over the Reds since Tommy Mooney secured a shock 1-0 success at Anfield in 1999.
The Hornets, who boast a stingy defence and the goal power of Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo, sit two places above Liverpool in seventh after reeling off three successive wins and Sanchez Flores made it clear he and his players won’t be intimidated by their more illustrious visitors.
“Klopp is a very positive manager and he’s always thinking about good, offensive football,” the Spaniard said.
“He wants to learn about the Premier League and it is new for him.
“But I’m not thinking too much about the coach, I’m thinking about Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Christian Benteke. That’s more important than thoughts of Jurgen Klopp.” ― AFP