EPL

Klopp dismisses Premier League title talk amid Liverpool slump

By Sports Desk January 21, 2021

Jurgen Klopp dismissed talk about the Premier League title race after Liverpool's surprise 1-0 loss to Burnley.

Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten home league run came to an end after Ashley Barnes netted a late penalty.

Reigning champions Liverpool have gone four league games without scoring and are winless in five, leaving them six points adrift of leaders Manchester United.

Klopp said it would be ridiculous to discuss the title race given his side's form.

"Look, how silly would that be if I sit here now, losing against Burnley, didn't score for the last three or four games – I don't know exactly – and now I talk about the title race? How silly would that be?" the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

"It's just we have to win football games – it was always like this. For this we have to score goals, there is no doubt about it. That's what we have to change and have to do better. If things don't work, you have to work harder, do the right things more often, longer and more consistent, all these kinds of things.

"But not talking like it is an easy situation, it's not. It shows a lot of things. It's incredible how consistent the boys were but that was never something that anybody should have taken for granted because now we see they are all human beings, that's how it is. And now I have to make clear about what we have to do in the right moments and then we will score goals again."

Liverpool had 27 shots without scoring against Burnley, the most they have had in a single league match without finding the back of the net since April 2013.

Klopp said his players were lacking some confidence amid their poor run of form.

"We can do more with this group, we can play much better football, that is my concern. That is what I am thinking about," he said.

"The confidence is not on the highest level, I think that is so obvious that I don't have to mention it – you can see it in specific moments. It is like 90 per cent of all what the boys did all of the time is still there, but the decisive 10 per cent in the moment is missing.

"So, now we have to work on this decisive 10 per cent. That's how it is – we always work on them, but now we have to dig a little bit deeper to get them back."

Liverpool face Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday before visiting Tottenham four days later.

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    Wales international Bale has impressed in his last three Spurs appearances, registering two goals and two assists in one start and two substitute appearances.

    Those displays, in two legs of the 8-1 aggregate Europa League win over Wolfsberger and in the Premier League loss at West Ham, came after a disappointing start to his loan spell from Real Madrid.

    Bale has largely struggled with his form and fitness, falling out of favour with a seemingly frustrated Mourinho.

    There was intense speculation over whether Bale had any chance of extending his stay from Madrid for a second season.

    But he now seems revitalised, with Mourinho offering a positive update ahead of Sunday's home Premier League game against Burnley.

    "The mental side is always a consequence of the physical side," explained Mourinho.

    "If a player feels great, if he is training 100 per cent, if the feelings are very good then there are no psychological problems, fears or barriers. 

    "When you have these little things and you have a recent history of injuries, these things are normal, they have a consequence. 

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    "He looks happier than ever, looks confident. In training you can see that confidence back, the way he hits a shot like for example in the last game, it is a confident shot. 

    "A player with fears or feelings in the muscle does not hit that shot, strike the ball that way. That strike means a lot, it means freedom in relation to the brain and the muscle.

    "He's in his best condition since he arrived."

    Mourinho insisted Bale has the complete trust of everyone at Tottenham when it comes to managing his condition after being asked if the 31-year-old could only play when he was 100 per cent fit.

    The under-pressure Spurs boss added: "He's a player with a lot of experience and players with experience, they know their body better than anyone. 

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    Tottenham are ninth in the Premier League ahead of a crucial week for Mourinho that sees them face three teams in the bottom half: Burnley, Fulham and Crystal Palace.

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    Guardiola jokingly said earlier this week that money was the most important factor behind his side's incredible winning streak, which has them on course for a clean sweep of silverware.

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