Jöel Matip echoes the frustration of supporters after the first two months of 2017 left the Reds with just Premier League football to play for.
Liverpool were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Southampton and the FA Cup by Wolves and compromised their league position to slide from the top four in what has been a torrid start to the New Year.
Supporter angst is at an all-time high and it often feels like one step is taken forward before two are taken backwards. Beating Spurs was a massive step in the right direction but all momentum was lost when Leicester beat Liverpool 3-1 at the King Power Stadium.
Liverpool are in a similar situation now. Having beaten Arsenal 3-1, Burnley beckon. If the Reds fail to win, all progress will be squandered and the opportunity to capitalise on beating a top four rival will be lost.
Matip believes that Liverpool’s feel as much frustration as the supporters do and that building on the win over Arsenal is essential.
“You learn a lot in negative moments and I believe that this can make us stronger as a team and as individuals,” he says in the new edition of the official Liverpool FC magazine.
“We have to try to get back to what we did before. What gave us the strength, we have to find it again. We have to run more than the opponent, work harder than the opponent and do more than the opponent.
“We are all optimistic that if we can do that we can stay back on the winning track.
“We understand the fans’ frustrations but it was not just the supporters who were frustrated. We felt that way just as much because we also want to win every game and don’t want to lose any of them.
“We have enough confidence and belief in ourselves and our qualities but you also need some positive moments to reinforce those things.
“The difficult spell was not easy but we all tried to handle it and do our best in the situation. Pressure is always high here, but at a club like Liverpool I think that’s normal.”
Liverpool play Burnley this weekend and this will represent a real opportunity for the Reds. It signifies the chance to build on a win against Arsenal and help break down the complex which seems to have developed when playing lower placed teams. Matip is aware of Liverpool’s track record against teams like Burnley and he wants to set things right.
“Of course it’s nice that we haven’t lost too many points when we have played against the leading sides, but the fact is that you only get three points for a win whether that is against the top team in the division or the bottom,” he said.
“We are not alone on the field. We are always up against an opponent who also wants to do well and do their best to win games. Teams did that very well against us during January and we had our problems.
“Exactly why we had those problems, I’m not too sure. I don’t know if it was a lack of consistency or what it was, but I do know that every one of us wants to win every game no matter who it is against, and we know that we have the quality to do well.
“You cannot change the past but you can influence the future – so that is the way we must look at it.”
So, looking ahead. Liverpool will be the only side in the top six to play in the Premier League this weekend due to a lack of FA Cup commitments and it provides the opportunity to ensure they create a buffer of sorts between them and Arsenal.
“The next game is always the most important,” added Matip. “The only thing that matters now is the next 90 minutes and we want to do all that we can to keep improving our position.
“We can look at the Premier League table all we like now, but the only table that counts is the one that is published at the end of the season.
“We still have a lot of possibilities to get some points and we must make sure we use them. It will be a hard fight to the finish as there are a lot of teams competing for those top four positions.
“We have to do everything we possibly can to get back to where we want to be.”