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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp on perfection and keeping sensible targets

"We all have to get through this situation," says the Liverpool boss as he calls for compassion during lockdown.

Jürgen Klopp is keen not to demand too much of his players
Jürgen Klopp is keen not to demand too much of his players POOL/AFP via Getty Images

After leading Liverpool to UEFA Champions League glory in 2018/19, and then to their first Premier League title in a generation in 2019/20, Jürgen Klopp has made a huge impact at Anfield.

However, while he remains ambitious, the 53-year-old coach tells UEFA.com that his sides have never come close to footballing perfection, and that he is keen to keep the pressure off his players during this coronavirus-dominated campaign.

On targets for the season

Memorable Liverpool goals under Klopp
Memorable Liverpool goals under Klopp

This is not a season, this is not a time in life when you should limit yourself, in a positive and a negative way, with targets. It's just we all have to get through this situation. That's how it is.

For the players, it's incredibly intense what we are doing. We're all happy and it's without any alternative that we play. It's great – love it, fantastic – but it's all on the backs of the players.

They have to deliver. You watch the game and if they don't play well, you still think: "That's not really good!" You don't think about what they go through in the week, because we all have normal lives, obviously, left and right of the games we play.

And that's pretty much the same for all of us, where you cannot see friends, you cannot see your family, and all these things. Recovery is not only sleep, it's not only treatment. It's really giving yourself a bit of freedom to think about things you want to think about and not what you have to think about.

In the world out there at the moment, the biggest problem is that we don't have this time often enough and it keeps us quite tense. That doesn't help if then you have a game to play every three days at 110%, in the best way.

On Diogo Jota

Highlights: Atalanta 0-5 Liverpool
Highlights: Atalanta 0-5 Liverpool

Diogo, I liked, honestly, from the first game I saw him playing for Wolves. That's how it is. He had no idea about that, obviously, but for me it was always clear that when he was kind of in reach, I would go for him because he's very, very interesting and had an exciting career so far: what he did, where he's come from, the moves he made, bam bam bam. I liked the discipline he showed, plus the creativity he showed, plus the desire he showed. And his skills are pretty good anyway, so I got a lot of good signs before we signed him that it could work out.

On achieving sporting perfection

As a human, as a person, probably the first thing I realised that helped me a lot in life is that I don't have to go for perfection because it's not possible. I didn't even try; I just always tried to make the best of the things I had, and it never went anywhere close to perfection, to be honest. With football, it's pretty much the same. So, we are always trying to be as good as possible, but perfection... I never saw it, and I watch a lot of football.

2019 final highlights: Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham
2019 final highlights: Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham

As long as you are not perfect, you have space to improve, which is nice and gives you the drive to get through all the different challenges you face during a football season, a football career, or life. So, I'm not a specialist in perfection, obviously – probably the opposite – but I still try to push my boys to get there as close as possible.

There is so much space for improvement. That's what we're working on. But while you try to improve, you should never forget what is good already and use that, and that's what we do as well. So, it's not an obvious thing to do every morning: "We have to get better, we have to get better." No, we know some things are that good that it would sometimes be enough just to bring them consistently on the pitch.