EPL

Klopp 'feels exactly the same' about title race after Man Utd win

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

Jurgen Klopp has no issue with supporters celebrating as if they have won the Premier League, but says Liverpool are in "exactly the same situation plus three points" after beating Manchester United.

Liverpool defeated United - the only team to take points off them in the league this term - 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday.

As Klopp's men moved 16 points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand, fans on Merseyside chanted: "We're going to win the league."

The win, secured with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, was quickly deemed by many significant in Liverpool's pursuit of a first top-flight championship since 1989-90.

But Klopp was adamant he and his players still could not afford to celebrate.

"[The fans] can sing that, but they sang that a couple of times in the past, I think," he told Sky Sports. "There's absolutely no problem. Everybody should celebrate a situation - apart from us.

"We have no problem with that. There's nothing changed. We have exactly the same situation plus three points, which is great, wonderful, unbelievable. But nothing else has changed.

"I'll tell you immediately the moment it feels different. So far, it feels exactly the same always."

The Liverpool manager added he was looking no further ahead than their next match at Wolves.

Klopp said: "I have no idea if we can be caught or not. First and foremost, it's the Premier League. We play on Thursday against Wolves.

"They played an exceptional comeback last night [a 3-2 win at Southampton]. They have not had the results they wanted, but they've caused us here a lot of problems.

"It's the next massive challenge we face, and why should I think about more than that? I'm not smart enough to do that, to be honest. There's not enough space in my brain.

"We will prepare for Wolves, try our best, and then we will see."

Liverpool were pushed by United prior to Salah's stoppage-time clincher, with Anthony Martial missing a big chance, but Klopp claimed the visitors had set up to "annoy" his side.

"What a performance against an opponent with the quality of United and the set-up of United," he said.

"It was about, and I'm sure Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] would say the same, [United] wanting to annoy us, disrupt our game, defend, counter-attack.

"They had moments when they played football, but it was not too often, and all the other moments were just difficult against them to create chances.

"But we did it. Wow. The manner in which we created chances was really exceptional."

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    Andy Robertson warned Liverpool not to take Anfield for granted in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid.

    Champions League holders Liverpool will go into the return leg against Atletico on March 11 trailing 1-0 on aggregate after their loss at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday.

    But while the Premier League leaders will be eyeing yet another special European outing at Anfield, Robertson said his team had to make sure they got the job done.

    "We can't take that for granted. Anfield's big, Anfield's amazing for us but we can't take it for granted," he told reporters.

    "I know the fans won't but the fans can't take it for granted either that it will just be another special Anfield night. We need to try and make it an Anfield night.

    "And that's up to the players and it's up to the fans to all come together to try and make it a special night and hopefully we can do it."

    Liverpool failed to have a shot on target in Madrid, where they were frustrated by Atletico after Saul Niguez's fourth-minute opener.

    Robertson, whose team are 25 points clear atop the Premier League, said Jurgen Klopp's side would need to be at their best in the return leg.

    "We are confident that we can win any game so we need to win this game. We know we need to beat them and we need to beat them with a scoreline that suits us," the left-back said.

    "We, obviously, can't really concede. We have been in this position before. You know Napoli at home, we had that same situation in the group stages [last season].

    "We have had these situations before but if we are not at 100 per cent then we will not win the game. We've got a couple of games before then and then we will be 100 per cent ready for this game."

  • I was afraid their players would go down every time he breathed! – Klopp hits out at Atletico's treatment of Mane I was afraid their players would go down every time he breathed! – Klopp hits out at Atletico's treatment of Mane

    Jurgen Klopp accused Atletico Madrid's players of deliberately attempting to get Sadio Mane sent off in Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano.

    Champions League holders Liverpool suffered just a fourth loss of the campaign in Tuesday's last-16 first leg after Saul Niguez's fourth-minute strike.

    Klopp made the surprise decision to substitute Mane, the match-winner against Norwich City at the weekend, for Divock Origi at half-time.

    Mane was cautioned for clashing with Sime Vrsaljko and Atleti's players pleaded with referee Szymon Marciniak to dismiss the Senegalese when he caught the same player with a flailing arm.

    Klopp confirmed after the game the decision to replace Mane was not down to an injury concern, the forward having only recently returned from a hamstring injury.

    "It's part of football, I don't like it, but the plan was to get Sadio out the game with a second yellow card," he said at his post-match news conference.

    "I was a little afraid the opponent would go down even if Sadio had a deep breath. I didn't want that situation, that's why I took him off."

    Klopp was also forced to replace skipper Jordan Henderson late on after he tweaked his hamstring, but the Liverpool boss downplayed the severity of the injury.

    "Hendo felt something, unfortunately," he said. "We have to wait – he was not too concerned, but it was enough for him to go off."

    Saul's strike came as a result of some poor defending from Liverpool, but the visitors felt they should have been awarded a throw-in in the lead up to the corner that Atletico scored from.

    Klopp's men had 73 per cent of possession in the Spanish capital but failed to register a single attempt on target, with Mohamed Salah and Henderson coming closest to equalising.

    "Would I have liked to have got the throw-in? Yes. That would have made our life easier," Klopp, himself shown a yellow card for dissent in the second half, told reporters. 

    "Coming here and having 70 per cent possession is exceptional, our build-up was outstanding against a high-press team – it was next level, the best we have done for a long time. 

    "The intensity was exactly how it should be, putting the opponent under pressure in the final third we were not clinical enough. We didn't have enough clear-cut chances. 

    "We had chances but not enough. Staying in the game is development. We had games in atmospheres like this where we lost focus and they scored a second. That did not look like happening tonight. 

    "It is 1-0 at half-time. We don't give up when it's 15 minutes half-time so why should we when we have three weeks? The second half will be played in a different stadium, our stadium, and you will feel that. We are looking forward to it.

    "All Atletico fans who have a ticket for the game, welcome to Anfield."

  • Atletico started beating Liverpool on the roundabout outside! - Simeone Atletico started beating Liverpool on the roundabout outside! - Simeone

    Diego Simeone was in awe of the way the Atletico Madrid supporters welcomed the arrival of Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday and felt it proved key to their victory.

    Supporters lined the streets outside the stadium, lit flares and chanted at great volume as the European and world champions' bus arrived for the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.

    Atleti had won just once in seven matches in all competitions heading into the game but Simeone's side upset the odds, scoring early through Saul Niguez and holding on for a 1-0 lead to take to Anfield.

    "We started winning on the roundabout next to the stadium," Simeone told Movistar. "In eight years, I've never seen a reception like that."

    He added in his press conference: "[The atmosphere] was exciting, it makes you want to play. The team responded with great effort, as they did in Valencia.

    "It was not [the best night] because we didn't get a title, but there are nights you don't forget and this was one of them.

    "The best team in the world comes after a lot of wins and you beat them."

    Simeone had talked up the Wanda atmosphere prior to the match as he recognised the need to get a result before travelling to Anfield, where Liverpool have not lost in any competition since September 2018.

    Anticipating a similar mood on Merseyside, the Atleti boss expects a tricky encounter.

    "We're going to play with a lot of humility, because they are accustomed to playing massive games in their stadium," he said.

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