The Reds’ only victory in the New Year came against Tottenham while they also made unspectacular exits in the EFL and FA cups in a short period. According to Klopp, the lack of winter break has not allowed his players to recuperate due to the busy schedule and his intensified training sessions.
“They left the EFL Cup, before it started? I don’t remember them playing one game in that competition. I spoke to Antonio Conte for a long time at Anfield, maybe 25 minutes, and he mentioned it but said they could play the same 13-14 players all the time. That is the difference.”
While Conte has been fortunate to have had his players unbridled by injury, Klopp had star-player Sadio Mane travel to the Africa Cup of Nations in January. Apart from Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool have been affected only by injuries to fringe players, but Klopp thinks there are other factors at play.
“In December, we missed players and did not have the best schedule. You could see the difference physically. It was a few [other] things. On a few things we had an influence and on others we did not have an influence–we conceded goals, offside against us, penalty against us.
“We could have had two, three or four points more. With two points more instead on an offside goal for Man Utd, and I don’t want to make a story of it, then we are in the same situation but with 51 points. Only because of one decision and the games staying the same.”
Continuing his assessment on a tough two months, Klopp said: “Hull–first half really not good, Southampton –not good enough, Chelsea–good, United–good, Swansea–silly but not bad, we played pretty good until we stopped playing. We are not used to being a top team, maybe we have to be. We are not clever like Chelsea who will be 2-0 up and just finish the game.”
After their victory to Spurs, the Reds will now have ten more days to recover until they travel to reigning champions Leicester City next Monday.