Premier League needs Liverpool to challenge Manchester City, says Klopp | Jurgen Klopp


Jürgen Klopp has dismissed Pep Guardiola’s claim that the whole country wants Liverpool to win the title, but insisted the Premier League would be boring without a serious rival in Manchester City.

Guardiola claimed ‘everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone’ and ‘people want Liverpool to win more than us’ in a bizarre outburst after City’s 5-0 rout of Newcastle on Sunday.

Klopp believes the post-match interview illustrated the tension of the title race on Guardiola more than any statement of fact, and compared it to his criticism of Antonio Conte’s tactics after the 1-0 draw. 1 from Tottenham at Anfield on Saturday.

But the Liverpool manager believes his side deserve wider support to deliver a genuine title chase and ensure City do not win a fourth league championship in five seasons at a gallop. “Imagine how the situation would be if we weren’t so close. Then the interviews would be boring,” Klopp said. “You have to make sure there’s excitement and there’s an exciting battle. to find out who stays in the league and an exciting battle over who qualifies for the Champions League. But imagine if we weren’t closer.

“This [Guardiola’s reaction] is completely normal. We all feel the tension, we can’t say we don’t feel it. After the Tottenham game, it’s not like I thought, ‘Great’, but before you can deal with your emotions, you’ve already faced 20 cameras. That’s what Pep did. I don’t take it as a backhanded compliment. He probably thought he had to make that point. You know better than I that this is not the case.

Liverpool can level things with City on Tuesday with a win at Aston Villa, despite having played one game more, but Klopp is adamant. Guardiola is mistaken in believing that the country wants the title to go to Anfield. “I live in Liverpool so, yeah, a lot of people here want us to win the league – that’s true,” Klopp said. “But even here it’s probably only 50% because the other [Evertonians] were involved in another fight, at least until yesterday.

“As managers, and I’ve had that experience recently, obviously we’re massively influenced by the game. I said – and would I say it again? No – but I said after the [Tottenham] game: “They play the way they play and are still only fifth.” It felt good at the time, but it was wrong. I couldn’t respect Antonio more and what he does and how he organizes teams.

“I don’t know exactly what situation Pep was in, having been knocked out of the Champions League, which is obviously pretty hard to take, but of course Liverpool got to the final and you have these things like, ‘They only played Villarreal, we played Real”, and then you say what you say. And he’s right, too. I was right for Tottenham. He was right, we only won the Premier League only once. I don’t know if the whole country is supporting us. That’s not the feeling I get when we go to other places and play there, it’s actually the opposite, but maybe -maybe he knows more than me.

Klopp insists Liverpool ‘won’t stop believing’ they can win the league until it’s mathematically impossible. He also claimed the title challengers should be encouraged by their display against Spurs, despite losing points for only the third time this year.

“It wasn’t a perfect game but the general approach, the counter-press, was completely on another level,” said the Liverpool manager, who could recall Roberto Firmino from injury at Villa Park. “We win it and we talk about it. “Wow, the Liverpool counter press.” We don’t earn it and we just forget it. I don’t know [forget it] because it keeps us going.

“That’s how I see it [nothing is broken]. That’s how I saw the game. So we continue. It’s the nature of the thing and it’s with the quality of the opponent and the goalkeeper and you know we had the situations [to win]. If Virgo [van Dijk] get the header here [forehead] instead of here [points to the side of his face]that’s at least a better chance than hitting the bar.

“We didn’t score from a free kick but we could have because everything was almost perfect. We have to accept this. Now we have to use the good stuff, remove the bad stuff and go from here.

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