Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hopes that his men are ready for the challenge of facing born-again Sunderland at Anfield tomorrow.
The title-chasing Reds are eager to get back to winning ways after last week’s 0-0 draw at Southampton, but David Moyes’ Black Cats head to Liverpool on a high after successive victories.
Klopp wants another full-house crowd to inspire the Merseysiders.
“We saw the games and maybe they played better games than against Hull or Bournemouth, but they won the games,” Klopp said.
“That’s the most important thing, to get confidence, and they have it now.
“It’s our job to show from the first second as a big group, crowd involved, that we are different – here it’s different.
“Sunderland, if they win football games in the Premier League: well done, deserved, whatever. But not here.
“That’s what we have to show [but] that will not be easy – the exact opposite of easy. I really, really hope that my team is ready for it, and I hope that the whole crowd is ready for it too.”
Klopp’s press conference was dominated by questions on the retirement from playing of former Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard.
But the Anfield boss is totally focused on the Sunderland game.
“Sunderland is a real challenge because it’s really hard already for you to ask about the Sunderland game because everything else seems to be more interesting,” said the German.
“It’s like the points are already [won] and we couldn’t be further away from having the points already. We will not underestimate them, 100 per cent not.
“If one person in the stadium would underestimate them, it would be the first mistake we could make.
“The weather will be good on Saturday and everything is prepared for a good football game – if we do our job, which will be a difficult one.
“Until now, [the performances were] good but the next challenge is already there and we have to do the good things again and the not-so-good things in a different way.”
Klopp has studied Sunderland’s season this week, and he believes that Moyes was unlucky to have to wait until this month to secure a first win.
“It’s the best moment Sunderland had in the season and if you watch their games – and we watched a lot of their games in the last week – you can see even when they lost games in the beginning of the season, it was never a clear result,” he added.
“[They lost] 2-1, 1-0, 94th minute – things like this. They were really unlucky in a lot of moments.
“You need to be ready for this game, that’s the challenge.”
Meanwhile, Klopp will give Gerrard all the help he can as he forges a new career after reiterating the “door is always open” for him to return to his boyhood club.
There have been suggestions Gerrard could get a role at Liverpool – Klopp virtually guaranteed it – and possibly with the youth teams.
However, it seems highly unlikely he will be invited into Klopp’s well-established inner first team sanctum.