Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool must work like ‘Rocky Balboa’ to improve and take down heavyweights Manchester City, the ‘Ivan Drago’ of the Premier League.
Liverpool reached the final of the Champions League last season, knocking out City on the way, but they were 25 points off the record-breaking pace set by Pep Guardiola’s side domestically.
The Reds have strengthened in the close season with the likes of Alisson, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri arriving and boss Klopp says Liverpool are ready to “really go for it”.
But the German recognises it remains a sizeable task and likened City to Drago, the formidable rival to fictional boxing character Balboa.
Asked what Liverpool must do to catch City, Klopp replied with a smile: “More luck. Somebody told me [Liverpool were] the unluckiest team…
“We have to be more consistent. That’s how it is. We know that. We have to be more clinical in the right moments, we have to be more aggressive in the right moments.
“There are a lot of things. We have to improve everything. We can improve our offensive play, we can improve our defensive play.
“But you all ask me about the gap to City and what we have to do. It’s nothing to do with City. City got three points from us, we got three points from them. That’s it. We lost them in other games.
“Win all of them and it’s good, but it’s really difficult to do so. There are not only the big six. You see what happens around and see how Wolverhampton act, how Fulham act, how Everton act, a lot of clubs are all ambitious.
“We cannot go there and win just because we are Liverpool. It is really difficult, but it’s not only difficult for us. It’s difficult for the other teams as well.
“I don’t think too much about what we have to do in general. We have to be in this championship mood. You dive in the water and now let’s go for it until we don’t have enough air. That’s the plan – to really go for it.
“I know a lot of people think about the transfer window, but that doesn’t decide anything. How could we say we have to beat everyone? We want to be champions of England, but what about [Manchester] United and the other clubs?
“The champions are Manchester City. They didn’t lose any players and they brought in [Riyad] Mahrez. That doesn’t make them weaker. We saw the game against Chelsea, they are top quality.
“We are still Rocky Balboa, not Ivan Drago. We are the ones who have to do more, to fight more, to do all these things. That must be our attitude.
“[Expect too much and] you can only disappoint yourself and the people around us. Why would we do that? We did not reach anything so far. We only did finals.
“Could we go to a final again? We should try to win it this time. In the league it’s exactly the same. We got the Champions League and that was a success, but we can only improve two more places without being champions.
“Then we can talk. Now, it’s all nothing. It’s like scientists without checking if it really works. We have to be like Rocky.”