Jurgen Klopp backs Liverpool to return to winning ways at Brighton

Jurgen Klopp
 insisted has no concerns over pressure derailing Liverpool's Premier League title challenge despite two straight defeats - on the day he and Virgil van Dijk were named manager and player of the month for December. 
The league leaders travel to Brighton aiming to increase their lead over Manchester City to seven points and put pressure on Pep Guardiola
's side, who face Wolves - the side who eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup this week - on Monday night.
That result followed a draining 2-1 defeat by City at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League, where victory would have sent Liverpool 10 points clear at the summit of the table. 
But while January has seen a stuttering start, December was a roaring success for Liverpool. They won all seven Premier League games on top of securing a place in the last-16 of the Champions League.
'It's nice, the icing on the cake,' Klopp said after being handed the award. 'It was a very successful but difficult month.
'Each game felt like the most important one of the season. It was unbelievable. The intensity was massive but that's what made it a special month.
'One hundred per cent teamwork (was the reason). I know a few things about football but my best skill is to bring really good people together.
'I lead that group, that's true, and I have to make final decisions but I can only make good decisions if the information I get is brilliant.
'With the group I have here, if you can mix up the potential of the group with the best attitude you can get and you get quality. That's what we did in December.'
At his Friday press conference previewing Saturday's match at Brighton, Klopp dismissed claims that pressure is getting to his side after two straight defeats. 
'Now we go for the big stakes,' he said. 'As long as you can stay completely focused on what you have influence on, the better it is. That is what we try to do and so far it was pretty easy for us to stay focused.
'That's what we have to show and will show again. But there is no game in the Premier League where you can go and count the three points before you play the game.'
Klopp does not think Liverpool's lack of cup commitments will give them a clear run at the title, especially while he is balancing injury problems in defence. 
Dejan Lovren hobbled off with a muscle injury at Wolves, while Joel Matip has only just returned to training ahead of Brighton and Joe Gomez is definitely out.
'If you have the full squad together, that is my preferred rhythm to be honest,' Klopp said. 'But it is our situation, it is not that we decided to go out the cups.
'At Wolves, we had to make changes after the most intense month of the year. Now we have to make the best of the time we have. Pep says he would prefer to be in four competitions. Yeah, I would too.
'We came through December with little injuries but three centre-havles injured in the same moment is unlucky, it makes it tricky.'
Klopp was careful not to go overboard in his praise of Van Dijk with Liverpool's season at a delicate stage, but jokingly knocked on the table where he was sat when praising his fitness.
'I think much more about players than I talk to you about them,' Klopp said. 'If I follow your path with praising, we create headlines that don't make sense.
'He has outstanding potential. For us he is very important, most importantly he is fit (knocks on the table) constantly and that helps him with rhythm. I really like him as a player, as a person. A good boy.' 
Liverpool have only three more fixtures in the Premier League
 before the end of January and they have an 11-day break between Anfield dates against Crystal Palace (January 19) and Leicester City (January 30). 
City, by contrast, have four games in that period when Klopp's side are inactive. 
'Other teams play more games, they are in other competitions and can deal with it with other players, we can too,' he said. 'We have to use the time but you can also do a lot of things wrong in a week training.' 
Klopp is not too concerned by the injury that ended Lovren's game at Wolves after only four minutes.
'I don't know how long he is out for. Serious but not that serious. A muscle thing, I would expect him back after maybe Crystal Palace,' Klopp said.   

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