Why Klopp doesn't see Sunday as a title decider

Press conferenceWhy Klopp doesn't see Sunday as a title decider

Published 8th April 2022
By Chris Shaw

Jürgen Klopp is massively anticipating Sunday's Premier League clash with Manchester City – but does not consider the game a title decider.

Liverpool travel to Etihad Stadium this weekend trailing Pep Guardiola’s team by a single point, having won each of their last 10 top-flight fixtures.

The manager previewed the 4.30pm BST kick-off at a press conference on Friday morning, where he assessed the rivalry between the clubs, key factors for the contest and the race to secure the championship.

Read a summary of his chat with the media below…

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On the kind of game he is expecting on Sunday…

Actually, a good one. I know that very often it doesn’t happen when two top teams face each other but I think our history with City shows that very often it was a pretty interesting watch because both teams really go for it and want to create opportunities, want to create chances, want to use momentum, want to use gaps, situations and all these kind of things. So, that’s why I expect an interesting football game, to be honest.

On external emphasis about the match being a ‘title decider’…

I cannot decide what people think but we can just go through the possible results: if we win, we are two points up. If everybody thinks that’s done and dusted with the league, I cannot help. If we lose we are four points behind. If anyone thinks that’s it, I cannot change it, but I know nobody from a City point of view would think like that. If it’s a draw, one point behind. That’s it. A very important game, I’m really looking forward to it, one of the biggest challenges you can face in football, but that’s really nice, that’s why you do these kinds of things. Imagine we would still be 14 or 15 points behind, it would still be a great game but a lack of something – meaning less and these kind of things. So, it’s good. We qualified for a great game with the season we played so far and I’m really happy we can be part of it. I can imagine a lot of people will watch it and we give it a try, that’s all I can say.

On the rivalry between the teams…

It’s cool. The last four years or whatever since we stepped up a little bit and could close the gap to City slightly, it’s interesting, absolutely. We push each other to incredible point tallies, madness, I would have never thought these kind of things are possible – especially not in this league. The consistency both teams showed in that period is absolutely crazy. We had our top year where we won the league, where there was a little gap. And obviously there were years – especially last year – when the gap [to City] was again big because we had our problems. Apart from that, it was always close, which I like. I always said, the closer you get the more likely it becomes you can overtake. But we know it is tough. What changed in these four years is everyone else thinks it’s tough as well when they face us, and that’s really good.

On whether Liverpool and City bring out the best in each other…

Probably. Look, if you play professional football on the highest level your focus is on your own games. But there’s a moment in the season where you cannot avoid watching the table, you see one is catching up constantly, you have the same amount of wins and all these kind of things. That’s normal. In sports I think what helps you the most is a strong opponent. In the long term especially it helps you the most. Not sure but I think especially [Rafa] Nadal and [Roger] Federer enjoyed a lot the rivalry they had. I’m not sure if they would still play if they would have won the tournaments [with] either hand. They enjoyed that and that’s how it is in sports. I wouldn’t say I am ‘thankful’ City are that good, but it didn’t deny our development. So, that’s it.

The reverse meeting: Liverpool 2-2 Man City

On the importance of having a positive mindset on Sunday…

Before a game like this you have to prepare and you have to show the respect they deserve with the way you defend. Against City it’s particularly important because they are obviously pretty good with the ball. There is no game in world football you can compare to playing against City because they are good in pretty much all areas, there is no real weakness. It’s not that you can say, ‘OK, they are here really good, but there [not so much].’ But, because it is football and the pitch is pretty big and they have only 10 outfield players and we have 10 as well, there are things you can do.

You better use your chances, all these kinds of things, it’s very helpful. You deny them as much as you can, as often as you can, that’s very helpful. You need to be properly in the challenges in a football way, really be close enough; the best players in the world, if you give them a bit more space to do what they do that makes no sense. So you have to be really close with the formation and then individually as well. There is a lot to think about but in the end it is a game and I really hope I can help the boys until then that they get all the necessary information but not too much, and then they can be themselves and enjoy the game.

On balancing players’ ‘big-game experience’ with current form for a match like this…

Yes, big-game experience helps, definitely. It is not the only important thing you consider when you make a line-up but it’s one of these. That’s it.

Published 8th April 2022