Costly 2014 defeat to Chelsea will not play on the mind of Liverpool players, says Jurgen Klopp

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dismissed the 2014 comparisons with Sunday’s visit of Chelsea by insisting the club’s last title slip-up has no bearing on the game.

A fortnight short of five years ago, Brendan Rodgers’ Premier League leaders lost 2-0 after failing to handle Jose Mourinho’s defensive tactics, ending an 11-match winning run and handing the initiative to eventual champions Manchester City.

The team were criticised for not coping with the pressure but Klopp insists the current situation bears no resemblance to then.

“I never thought for one second about 2014 until I entered this room. Not one second. Why should I?” he said at his pre-match press conference.

“Last year nobody asked me about (2014) before we played Chelsea at home.

“I’m not sure it’s in anybody’s mind except yours (the media’s). If the fans talk about it I can tell them all to ignore it.

“It’s nothing to do with us, it’s a completely new story. Things happen once in a lifetime, sometimes twice, sometimes never.

“Only the colours and the names of the teams are the same, pretty much. I am completely positive about the game.

“Anybody who wants to talk to any of my players about what happened years ago, don’t do it.

“We want to write our own history, and if you do that you can build on the positives of the past, ignore the negatives of the past and learn from the mistakes of the past.

“We have to do it positively, front-foot, the way we did the whole season.”

When the teams met in April 2014 it was a top-two clash and both were in the title race along with City.

This time around Chelsea are fighting just for a top-four place but that does not mean Klopp under-estimates their opponents.

“I know we have to work really hard for the result,” he added.

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard’s vital slip cost Liverpool at Anfield five years ago.

“I’m not nervous, I feel the intensity of the competition, but in this moment we see the positives. We never rest there. We have to make the next step, and it’s not over yet.

“The boys are positive, but it’s still so difficult. If you want to go through without difficulties, you have no chance. We try to encourage the players to play with big balls if possible, to try everything.

“It’s not possible to play a football game without mistakes. So you don’t have to worry about them, you only have to deal with them.

“We will make mistakes on Sunday, but we have to sort it, help each other, and then we can win a football game.

“We are completely focused on the situation and hopefully it will work out.”

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Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita backed by team-mate Sadio Mane to become a big star

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Liverpool forward Sadio Mane believes Naby Keita will become a big star at Anfield as the Guinea midfielder has proved before he is a slow-burner at a new club.

The pair struck up a close relationship – Mane describes him as a “brother” – in the brief time they were together at Red Bull Salzburg in 2014 before the Senegal international moved to Southampton.

Mane has since followed Keita’s career closely and feels there is a lot more to come from the £52.75million signing, who has had an indifferent start to his Liverpool career.

“I knew him from a long time ago, from the first time he came to Salzburg and he was the same,” Mane told Press Association Sport.

“At the beginning at Salzburg it was very tough for him but he never stopped working hard.

“He was not playing for a while and he was really positive and after he was the star of the team.

“I am 100 per cent sure he will do incredibly well.”

Keita has scored in back-to-back matches, after 27 previous appearances for the Reds without a goal, and his all-round performances have improved after a stop-start introduction to English football.

NabyKeitaLiverpoolWestHam (1)

“To be honest I think we have more to see from him. At the moment it is going well for him and everyone is very happy for him,” added Mane.

“The real Naby is coming still. He played well the last two games. I know him very well and there is more to come.

“I think goals always give him more confidence. He scored two goals and I think it boosts his confidence.”

Having Mane at the club has helped Keita’s settling-in period but the Senegal international insists the player has worked hard to integrate himself.

“I just talked to him to do what I can but Naby is a big boy so he knows how football can work and sometimes not,” said the forward.

“He knows that so he is very positive and he knows he can do more. I am sure he can do more.

“I’m trying to help him and everyone in the team and the coach as well.

“It is not easy to move from Germany to change club, especially as the league is not the same. It is part of the things you have to deal with and he is working hard every single day.

“Off the pitch I am very happy for him, he’s very relaxed.”

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Jordan Henderson feels more comfortable in new advanced role at Liverpool

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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson’s heart-to-heart with manager Jurgen Klopp has produced instant results as the midfielder feels more comfortable in his new advanced role.

It speaks volumes about the 28-year-old’s relationship with his experienced boss that he was able to make the suggestion he should be played further forward as a ‘number eight’.

Equally, the fact Henderson was prepared – and still is – to play the holding position for so long in order to accommodate other midfielders highlights his willingness to make personal sacrifices for the sake of the team.

But with summer signing Fabinho having found his feet and excelling as the deep-lying midfielder, Henderson saw his chance to expand his contribution.

As a result Liverpool have benefited as he scored his first goal in almost 18 months at Southampton on Friday and played a sublime role in the second goal against Porto.

After the Champions League quarter-final first-leg win, Klopp offered an apology of sorts, saying: “It was my fault that for one-and-a-half years he played as a number six. Sorry for that!”

But it would not have come about had it not been for the player’s gentle intervention.

“I don’t think the manager had thought about it too much until I mentioned it to him,” said the England international.

“Me and the gaffer just had a conversation. Obviously he had seen the England games and I felt good playing in that position.

Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson are enjoying a great relationship

Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson are enjoying a great relationship

“I suppose when I spoke to the manager, it was (to say) that I do feel more natural in that position: I played there for a long time, I was sort of a box-to-box midfielder when the manager first came.

“It was something that he said he would think about. I can do both positions and he sees that I can do both. It’s basically what he wants and he needs from the team.

“I want to keep contributing to the team. When I play the deeper position my role changes and I try to do different things and I can’t affect it as much in the final third.”

Henderson did not feel he could broach the subject with Klopp until he was confident they had a suitable alternative in Fabinho.

As club captain, his leadership role meant he was not prepared to risk destabilising a winning formula.

“It’s difficult to do that, it’s hard. For me as a captain and as a player at this football club, I always put the team first,” he added.

“I do whatever the manager tells us to do really but – when we had the conversation – I felt that I could speak my mind. I felt I could play further forward in that role.

“In the last couple of years there hasn’t really been a player like Fabinho in that role so I’ve had to adapt to that role. I think I’ve done quite well.

“I think if you look at Fab, it’s quite natural to him, that’s his position and he’s so good at what you need to do in that position.

“I just thought that might give me a bit more licence to get forward more at times – but you never know.

“The manager wants me in both positions which is good for me and for the team.

“In certain games I might be playing in that position. In certain games he might want me to play deeper. It’s all about putting the team first, I know that.

“But at the same time I want to contribute as much as I can to the team. I feel as though I can do that more in a further-forward position.”

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