Jurgen Klopp claims that Liverpool’s ‘lack of rhythm’ against Fulham was down to the Bayern Munich game. The Reds scraped a 2-1 win at Craven Cottage.
Liverpool took a first-half lead through Sadio Mane but noticeably slowed down after that. Chances dried up, the pace dropped, and Liverpool looked more relaxed.
That carried on into the second half – although mistakes begun to creep in, too. Fulham eventually equalised after a series of those errors but James Milner converted a penalty with ten minutes to go which wrapped up the points.
Klopp on the Fulham match
“We played Burnley, Munich and Fulham, it’s like three different kinds of sports actually, and obviously it’s difficult,” Klopp told Sky Sports after the match. “We started really well, and did a lot of good things but lost the rhythm a bit.
“I am not the most experienced manager and I have similar problems after Champions League games.”
Now, there does appear to be some truth to this. A few of Liverpool’s stuttering performances this season have come after a Champions League game.
Liverpool lost 1-0 in Naples before a disappointing 0-0 at home with Manchester City, a missed stoppage-time penalty saving blushes. The home game against Fulham this season was after a Champions League match and Klopp’s side stuttered in that one, too. Although they did ultimately win.
The same can be said for the 1-0 victory over Everton. Liverpool were far from their best there but scraped a victory.
And then, in 2019, Liverpool weren’t at their best in the 0-0 at Old Trafford after the first-leg against Bayern.
Champions League ‘hangovers’ are notorious and the Fulham performance shouldn’t be too surprising after the Bayern game, as Klopp says. He hasn’t taken the usual step of using fresher players afterwards, however.
The boss has taken an interesting strategy, opting to rarely rotate and bank on his players having the mental strength to grind out a win. It’s working so far, too, as Liverpool are unbeaten after a Champions League game.
With Liverpool in the quarter-finals, we’ll see if he can keep that streak going.