Liverpool have picked up a useful habit of “winning ugly”, says Emile Heskey, with those qualities expected to serve the Reds well in an ongoing Premier League title bid.
Manchester United would not be their preferred opponents for a game in hand, but the men from Merseyside know what is required from them.
Heskey believes Liverpool are capable of sustaining a challenge for a first top-flight crown in 29 years, with there a lot of encouraging signs coming out of Anfield.
The former Reds striker told Yahoo Sport: “They have got the mentality now, they are there.
“I looked at certain games throughout the season – if you looked at those games two or three seasons ago they would have lost them. Mentally, they weren’t focused enough. They weren’t ready to hold on to what they want.
“But now, we call it winning ugly. You’re not playing the best football, not everyone is at it on the day but you are getting a result. That is what they are now doing.”
Heskey believes Klopp must take much of the credit for having altered the mindset at Liverpool while turning the club into serious contenders for major honours.
He added on the German tactician: “He has brought the feel-good factor back, not just for the fans but for the players, it seems like they love playing for him. That is what you want as a manager.
“You have seen it over the years with different managers at different clubs, they are falling out with players left, right and centre.
“How do you get them back on your side? He does not seem to fall out with anyone. It seems like they are a close-knit family.”
While seeing plenty of positives in the Liverpool camp, Heskey is aware of the threat a resurgent United side are set to pose to the Reds on home soil.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen a nine-match unbeaten run in the Premier League since succeeding Jose Mourinho as Red Devils boss, with key men flourishing under his guidance.
Ex-England international Heskey said of those at Old Trafford: “Their confidence has gone sky high. The players are totally different to the beginning of the season.
“You’ve got [Marcus] Rashford playing out of his skin – he’s a phenomenal player. [Paul] Pogba looks like a different player, they have been given freedom to go out there and express themselves.
“The lads surely know – especially in the derbies – because the fans will make sure you know what it means. When you go out there, the atmosphere, the tension and everything, it will show you.”