Jurgen Klopp doesn’t miss the holiday break.
Not because he’s a scrooge, but because he wants to keep Liverpool’s good form rolling. After an emotional derby win over Everton, Liverpool has won its last two and three of the last five to push them back into second place after Arsenal has faltered.
“Everyone here is on fire,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference ahead of their post-Christmas matchup with Stoke City. “We are on track. We don’t feel like we need a break. Hopefully our supporters will be recharged and full of good food on 27 December.”
This will be Klopp’s second trudge through the Premier League holiday season, known around Europe for being different from other top flight leagues that take month-long breaks through the end of December and much of January. Last season, Liverpool won both its late-December matches, but faltered in early January.
This time around, Klopp has a different nemesis to battle: injuries. Philippe Countinho continues to miss time with ankle ligament damage, and the Liverpool manager confirmed he will continue to be sidelined and won’t be rushed back. “Everybody was thinking about the [Manchester] City game [on December 30] for example, this will be very unlikely. It was a dream of Phil. It’s not more likely than before, but I don’t want to say impossible.”
More than likely, Klopp said, Coutinho will return sometime in mid-January. “I don’t think it will be a long time.”
The German also spoke about the upcoming match with Stoke, referring to it as a forgotten match between games against Everton and Manchester City. “It’s like if you are the middle of three kids. Stoke is between Everton and Manchester City. A lot of people think we already have the points.” Apologies to all the middle kids out there.