Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists their FA Cup fifth-round tie at Chelsea does not take on any more significance despite two defeats in three matches.

Watford brought a surprise end to a 44-match Premier League winning run at the weekend and, with a loss to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League two games previously, there has been a small stutter in the Reds’ imperious form this season.

They remain, however, in the hunt for a treble, with the next game being a last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge that will probably attract more scrutiny than it would have if Liverpool had not suffered the defeats to Watford and Atletico.

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Klopp, who has fielded a number of fringe players in cup ties this season, has said the Chelsea fixture is no more important than it was before.

“The defeat has nothing to do with the line-up tomorrow night,” he said.

“Do we want to win the game more because we lost the last one? I don’t know, because we want to win games constantly.

“This is the most important game we have, because it is the only one we play and we have to win it if we want to go through.

“It will not be easier for us because we lost the last game – there will be more motivation.

“We never really think about lesser pressure or whatever. We are Liverpool, we always have to deliver. We play at Chelsea, but everyone expects us to win.

“It is not less pressure than before, it is just last 16 of the FA Cup and we want to go through and hopefully everyone can see that.”

Asked whether the end of their unbeaten league record could have a destabilising effect, Klopp added: “That’s over now, we can concentrate on football and we will do that. 

“It didn’t distract us and no one can tell us how best to deal with runs like this, because not a lot of teams had it.

“I was not happy with the performance [at Watford], but it was always clear there will be a moment when it could happen and now it has happened.”

A lot of fans were unhappy with the performance of Dejan Lovren, who replaced Virgil Van Dijk’s long-term central defensive partner Joe Gomez at Vicarage Road because of a minor knock.

The Croatia international has often found himself bearing the brunt of criticism, but Klopp launched an impassioned defence of the 30-year-old.

“It’s not fair, but that’s the world. If anybody gave Dejan Lovren the blame for our defeat then I can’t help these people,” said the German, who revealed Gomez and midfielder James Milner were fit to return to the squad against Chelsea.

“A lot of times in my life I speak to people and they know less than I do about football, that’s okay as I’m a well-paid Premier League manager and I should know more than most people.”

PA

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