Jürgen Klopp has provided an in-depth analysis of how he sees the Premier League title race shaping up.

But the boss’ immediate concern is Liverpool’s Boxing Day fixture against Newcastle United, not the bigger picture of the table.

Klopp’s league leaders go into Wednesday’s meeting with Rafa Benitez’s side four points clear of Manchester City, who in turn have a two-point advantage over Tottenham Hotspur.

Ahead of the Magpies’ visit to Anfield, the manager faced the media at Melwood, where he was questioned at length about the situation at the summit of the top flight.

Read on for a full transcript of what Klopp had to say…

On whether being top creates a different kind of feeling and pressure in the dressing room…

I think I told you all the time that we never think about City, right? So now we start thinking about City? That would be silly. It’s not interesting, we don’t watch the table first thing in the morning or something like that. I didn’t expect that City would lose against Crystal Palace, of course not, but it was clear that, like it can happen to us, it could happen to them. That’s football, I am too long in the business and know things like this can happen. Crystal Palace obviously deserved it in a specific way - three shots or four shots on target, I think City had a few more. That’s it. We are in December, nothing changed, absolutely nothing. We were focused so far always on the next game and that didn’t change since Saturday.

In the moment when people are not involved, but emotionally involved like friends and stuff like that and they see City lose 3-2 and you get all these messages - ‘wow, unbelievable, blah blah blah’ - and I don’t even feel it. In the job you know they still have 20 games to play. I’m a sportsman since I was five years old, I was running races and [doing] light athletics and stuff like that and if you think after 300m ‘I have him’, you are silly and you can never win. So why should you even think before you’ve won something that you maybe win something? We are not children anymore, we are just in a situation.

On Sunday when you saw Tottenham, with all the things being said about us and Man City, how can anybody forget Tottenham? That was impressive and they said it by themselves I think after the game: ‘Everybody is talking about the other two.’ That’s a nice situation. So for us we don’t do favours for anybody, you [the media] do sometimes favours because you talk only about us and them [City] and you give Tottenham a chance to come from the back and overtake you. All these things are not important. Obviously we play a very good season so far and it gives us a much better basis for the second part of the season than we had last year. That’s all, nothing else. So there is no celebration, no happiness [or] more happiness than before only because we are now a few points ahead of Man City with 20 games still to play. Really, really a lot of things can happen and always in the moment when you think it’s OK then something happens and it’s not that OK anymore. We all have to fight.  

Wednesday is a very important game. Everybody is in a Christmas mood apart from us. Everybody in England wants Boxing Day games, good, but then don’t be in a Christmas mood on the 26th. Come in and for these one-and-a-half hours give all you have because we need again an exceptional atmosphere to beat a very-difficult-to-beat team. Take nothing for granted. Don’t think that because we have that number of points and they have that amount of points… If you think that, that’s the moment when things go wrong. It can still go wrong, that’s how life is, but we have to be focused, we all have to be focused, not kind of nervous.

I heard all these things [about Liverpool being the only club to not go on and win the league when top at Christmas in the last 10 seasons] - wow, you are afraid to say it because you think then I know it, but it’s all just stories. What does it mean? It’s a different team, it was a different time, everything is different. It’s not interesting. If that would not have been the case and Liverpool would have been champions twice, would I then think now ‘halfway through, job done’? No, of course not. Nothing happened so far, we don’t have to think about May. What we have to do is think about December 26 against Newcastle, let’s try everything we have to win that game. After that, Arsenal is coming. You don’t have to go home after the Newcastle game, you can stay in the stadium because they are coming. So, all good. It’s a very intense time, let’s enjoy it, how we did all the time, and then it can be good or not.

On whether he senses a hunger for success within his squad…

For the second half of the season? We are. We smelled it a little bit last year how it could be. We were close a few times, that’s how it is, and if you are not silly that shows you that we are not bad, so let’s try it again, let’s try to be as successful as possible. In no sport in the world can you be successful without any kind of hunger, it’s not possible. If you are satisfied with something then you must be a genius and maybe there are a few of them out there [who] don’t need the perfect attitude and can still win things [but] usually, no chance with that. I think that’s fair play, that’s how it should be.

On whether the growing maturity in his squad can help them take the ‘final step’…

Not alone but as a piece, yes. Why not? It’s not that we want to make ourselves smaller than we are, but I can feel it that nobody here [in the press room] is obviously used to dealing with the success of Liverpool, but a lot of you feel for that club. I think after the [Wolves] game somebody asked me whether it is now ours to lose - we were one point ahead or whatever and he asked me that! Wow, that’s really crazy! If you want to have guarantees, go for another sport. If you want to be sure in May that it will be something really special but you don’t want to see the way to that day, make a holiday. I don’t know where the Premier League is not broadcasted but you will maybe go there! But if you want to enjoy the ride, to try everything you can to be as successful as possible, welcome. Let’s go for it, that’s all we can do, nothing else. And not because our grandfathers did it or didn’t do it, that has no influence.

On his players dealing with the pressure of being top at Christmas…

There is no pressure, I don’t see the pressure. Yes, there is pressure of course because we want to win against Newcastle, which is difficult enough. But now if I would listen to the pre-match interviews [before the Newcastle match] and I hear a player talking and someone is talking to him about May, I would take the mic and throw it somewhere! Only because that’s not fair. We have to play football and it’s not to think about what can we do in the summer. All these games are very difficult, they are really difficult and only because we won a few of them, that doesn’t mean it was easy. It wasn’t, you saw them all. It needs all our focus and that’s what we have to do. There’s no test for the boys. If we are not first in the table anymore on January 3 or whatever then maybe we lost a game, probably we lost a game until then. If we lose a game one day and everybody starts immediately saying ‘Wow, they showed they cannot deal with the pressure’, there’s still 17 games to go or something like that. So if you are excited, good. I am completely relaxed with the situation, to be honest, that’s how it is in this moment. I am not relaxed around the games because I am really on my toes, I would say, but from all the things around, the stories and all that stuff, it’s all cool. There’s no extra pressure on us because of a four-point gap.

On what he will tell his players about what is required to win a title, after his successes with Borussia Dortmund…

Nothing new. That’s what I tell them since we are together - I don’t expect more than we can really do. The only thing is that I don’t think that we are already there, that’s all. We don’t have to think about other teams, other teams do not think about us and if they do, that will never help so they don’t do it. If you think about another game then it’s only for motivation, like Tottenham on Sunday: ‘Everybody is talking about City and Liverpool, let’s see what happens.’ That’s a nice situation. But all these kind of poker games, we don’t play. The thing is, you have to make the most of what you’ve got, that’s it, and we have a really good squad and we could so far always line up proper, proper teams. As long as you are not injured, don’t look for excuses and play the best football you are able to in that specific moment, build on that and do it in the next game again. Of course we know much more about us in this moment than we did in the summer, because we now know a few things work really well together, a few things we still need to work on, how it always is. I can’t think of specific line-ups that didn’t work out well so far but that will be in the future, so we need time for that and for the rest we only need all our energy, all our belief in this thing here, in this project, however you want to name it. It’s a nice and pretty good situation, but a lot of other teams have good situations as well, that’s it. I realise in the moment I have not enough English words to explain to you all to relax.

On whether he can transmit his own experiences of being involved in a title race to his players…

I don’t know. I think so, but I don’t know. It worked out really well in 2012, [but] 2013 not that good. But it’s not about that. I am for sure the reason for a few things that are not that good because I am far away from being perfect, but my experience or not experience will not be key. Then City has the biggest advantage because they were last year champions all together, they know how it works and what to do: do it again and it will happen. It’s not about that and it’s not about being champions, it’s not about sitting here and now we are first we only talk about being champions at the end of the season - why should that be? We collected so many points, it’s a new record I think, so let’s go on that path further on and then we will see where this path ends.

Liverpool v Newcastle: Team news>>

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