Jürgen Klopp discusses Premier League title race and Leeds test

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp discusses Premier League title race and Leeds test

Published 22nd February 2022

Jürgen Klopp touched on the situation at the top of the Premier League and facing Leeds United at Anfield during a press conference on Tuesday.

Liverpool play their game in hand on leaders Manchester City on Wednesday evening when they welcome Marcelo Bielsa’s side to L4, with victory reducing the gap to three points. 

Read on for a summary of the Reds boss’ pre-match comments…

On how he felt on Saturday evening following the win over Norwich City and Manchester City's defeat against Tottenham Hotspur...

I, and it is the truth, was on the way home when it was 2-1 to Tottenham. Then I arrived at home and didn’t follow it anymore because I was sure they [would] equalise anyway. Then we went out and the driver was very excited and told me it was 2-2 and then 3-2. When he said 3-2, I thought, 'OK, City won 3-2.' They said, 'No, Tottenham won 3-2.' 'Oh' – that was my reaction because for us nothing changed really, we have to win all of our games. But I think you can expect that [Man City will win all their remaining games], or we expect that. Historically, it happens more often than not that they win pretty much all their games. OK, we play them once and that’s one game we want to win as well, definitely. So, of course if it would be 12 points or 15 points or whatever, it would be a completely different situation. 

Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota injury latest
22nd February 2022

NewsRoberto Firmino and Diogo Jota injury latestLiverpool will continue to monitor the fitness of Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

But for the game now, it does not change too much. Nothing changed actually, and that’s why we have to be 100 per cent focused on just this one game because we cannot win the game and the league and everything in one game. We just have to try to make sure we win a very difficult Premier League game. You saw all the faces of Leeds United on Sunday, with very brave and very exciting offensively and going with everything they have. And then defensively, yes, you can cause them problems – but it is difficult as well because of the man-marking system all over the pitch. It makes it really tricky if you are not really in the game, then they will eat you just like that. That’s why it is so important we are ready for the next very intense game. 

I think Leeds are pretty much leading in three of the decisive running stats in the Premier League, not all over, but then high-speed running, high-intense runs and all these kind of things. It's Leeds and you have to be ready for these kind of runs all of the time, and they never give up on top of that. They had really spectacular results – high scores and all these kind of things, both directions. We have to make sure that we are 100 per cent spot on.

Inside Training: Rondos and goals in pre-Leeds session

On whether the line-up against Leeds will hint at the XI for the Carabao Cup final...

I didn’t think about it. I didn’t, because the one thing I learned over the years – and I do this already now for a while – is it doesn't work for me to have two games or three games in my mind. We have to try everything for this game, and that’s what we did against Norwich. We made the changes for Norwich not because of the Leeds game or the final at the weekend. We made them because we needed the fresh legs and intensity in this game, and some players were ready for a rest as well, so that's why we made the changes. That's exactly how we will do it now. The Premier League is the Premier League and you cannot say, 'I rest somebody for the final' or whatever. For me, it never worked out if you try to rest one and bring him on after 60 minutes and he gets a knock in the 65th minute, so what’s the point? I have a few things to sort during the week but I don’t even try to think about the game after the one we are really in. 

On whether he feels Liverpool are 'back in the title race'...

How I said, what do you mean with a title race? We have so many games to play and, yes, if we could win them all, it's a title race. If not, maybe it's not a title race. I don’t know exactly. I understand 100 per cent that people get excited about it – good, good – because they are not completely out of reach anymore, but it's anyway a really tricky situation. I never prepare for press conferences, I have to say, but for today I can tell you I did not think for a second about the title race. I just thought about Leeds when I came in here – what you could ask about them. Yeah, usually you don’t ask about the opponent, we talk about all the other stuff, but I am obviously naive enough to still think about the next opponent and I have nothing to say about it [the title race], really. I am really happy about the results we had in the last few weeks. They obviously brought us some points, some confidence as well in different competitions – that's really good. But a minute after the Norwich game it's over and we just have to think about Leeds. 

There are so many things that can happen in football and if you now just think about it and everybody thinks, 'Now we are close and only three points.' No, it's six points and we play Leeds, so I cannot count points on our account before we played the game. If other people do that, that's OK because they are not directly involved. But we have to be ready for an incredibly intense game and a big fight against Leeds United. They fight for staying in the league and if you can say one thing about this team, they really, really, really never give up. That's what we have to make sure that will not help tomorrow night. But between now and then, there's a lot of work to do. 

On how satisfying Luis Diaz's goal against Norwich was after a 34-pass move..

Diaz scores his first Liverpool goal with a delicate finish

Very satisfying but it is a sign for something else as well. The two goals we scored before opened up the game for us, an obvious knock for Norwich, a proper boost for us. These moments are really rare because you have to work so hard to get any advantage in a football game. But if you have it, then we are obviously able to do some really, really nice stuff. With the 33 passes before, I loved each of them, but the last one of Hendo was pretty special. But what you saw then, how the formation of the opponent looked all the other times during the game really well organised, but in that moment obviously, with all respect, they were a little bit all over the park because there was no last line and there was a big gap in the centre, which Luis used. It was because of the movements of all other players – that's how football can look, unfortunately [it] doesn't look that often because of the quality of opponent. Norwich made this mistake exactly once in the game, we used it then but in all other situations they defended us much better.

Published 22nd February 2022