Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has spent the week working to improve his players’ confidence in front of goal as they head into a must-win fixture against arch-rivals Manchester United.
The Reds have scored just twice from 36 chances created in their last two matches, which have been defined by late equalisers costing them four points and putting their Champions League qualification hopes in jeopardy.
It took a couple of days for Klopp’s anger to subside after conceding with virtually the last kick of the game against Newcastle, but he quickly switched into analysis mode as he sought to show the players where they could improve.
The German has yet to win at Old Trafford – Liverpool’s last victory there was in March 2014 – but knows victory on Sunday is vital if they are to maintain their outside hopes of a top-four finish.
But they will only succeed if they cure their wastefulness in front of goal and to that end Klopp has been providing them with plenty of analysis in an attempt to rectify a problem which has dogged them for most of the season, particularly at home.
“Last week (against Leeds and Newcastle) we had 36 chances and scored twice, that is obviously not a number you want,” he said.
“There are two things: we don’t score often enough but we create a decent number and that’s what we have to keep doing.
“We tried to help the boys, we showed them situations like this. Not shouting at them ‘How can you not score in this situation?’, just giving them different options in the moment, helping them with the right information.
“After the (Newcastle) game I was not in a good mood – no-one should have been. The next day it was slightly better but not much.
“Two days later I was completely fine and I watched five or six games of us in two days to try to understand things better.
“You just have to bring yourself again in these decisive situations and when you are there you try to make the right decision and that is what we are working on with a lot of things in training and talks as well, some video sessions.
“It was a busy week but no problem as I have nothing else to do, so we try to use the time.”
United head into the game on the back of a 6-2 Europa League semi-final first leg demolition of Roma and Klopp acknowledges that does not bode well for his side.
“Is it the best place to go after conceding a late goal against Newcastle? I don’t know,” he added.
“Is it the best place to go after watching them score five goals in one half last night? I don’t know.
“We will see, for sure it is a game when you are a Liverpool player or a manager it is the game where you have to give everything anyway.
“They looked pretty good (against Roma) and we are ready for that. I have no worries, to be honest.
“We trained intensely, we tried to stimulate intensity which means we will have the right legs to go in and then we will see what we make of it.”
Klopp has set his side the target of winning their remaining five matches, but even that may not be sufficient to get them where they want to be.
“No, five wins will not be enough, for sure not, it depends on how the other teams play obviously. But without five wins we don’t have a chance,” he said.
“So as long as we are not 15 points behind with only three or four games to go, why should we write it off?
“We think we can still go to the Champions League but we will need results in other games (to go for us). We know that.
“But without winning our own games we will go nowhere, so we are not that naive.”