Liverpool have become Premier League champions for the first time, ending a three-decade wait to win the English top flight again.

The Reds' 19th league title was secured on Thursday when Chelsea's 2-1 victory over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge meant Pep Guardiola's side could no longer mathematically catch Jurgen Klopp's men.

The destination of the 2019-20 Premier League title has been a foregone conclusion for some time, though, with Liverpool having taken a remarkable 86 points from their first 31 games.

Klopp's side pushed City all the way last season but, despite claiming 97 points on that occasion, they finished behind a City side that won back-to-back titles.

This time around it has been the club from Merseyside who have set a relentless pace.

Liverpool dropped just two points from their opening 27 games and did not taste defeat in the Premier League until the final day of February when beaten 3-0 by Watford at Vicarage Road.

At that point their lead over City was already 22 points and only the coronavirus-enforced break has delayed their confirmation as champions for the first time since 1989-90.

That title triumph was Liverpool's 18th league championship, a record haul that has since been eclipsed by Manchester United following their glorious run under Alex Ferguson.

However, Klopp's arrival from Borussia Dortmund to replace Brendan Rodgers in 2015 turned Liverpool into a force once more – at first on the continent, and now domestically.

Liverpool beat Tottenham in the Champions League final 12 months ago, a year after being beaten at the same stage by Real Madrid in Kiev, to win Europe's premier club competition for a sixth time.

But it was the top domestic prize for which their fans had yearned for so long, and Klopp's men of 2019-20 have now ended that long wait, and with seven games to spare.

Liverpool are Premier League champions after Manchester City were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

Pep Guardiola's side had the chance to prolong the Reds' 30-year wait at least until the two sides meet at the Etihad Stadium next week, but the title was within touching distance when Christian Pulisic gave Frank Lampard's side a 36th-minute lead.

Kevin De Bruyne's spectacular free-kick brought City level and Raheem Sterling hit the post, but their vulnerability on the break was eventually punished when Fernandinho handled in a desperate 75th-minute goalmouth scramble.

The veteran Brazil international was sent off and his countryman Willian sealed the points and crowned Jurgen Klopp's dominant league winners.

Kepa Arrizabalaga acrobatically pushed Fernandinho's header from Riyad Mahrez's free-kick over the crossbar amid a controlled opening half-hour from City.

Ederson saved well from Pulisic and Andreas Christensen in quick succession at the other end, and he merited better protection when Chelsea took the lead.

Poor communication between Ilkay Gundogan and Benjamin Mendy and the latter's botched recovery tackle that left Pulisic in the clear to finish coolly.

There was questionable wisdom in Mendy seeking to atone for his errors by shooting frequently from distance early in the second half.

In the 55th minute, De Bruyne added finesse to that tactic with a sumptuous dipping free-kick after N'Golo Kante clumsily fouled Mahrez.

A one-touch counter-attack then ended with Sterling dinking against the post, with Chelsea's efforts noticeably more laboured.

Ederson launched that attack but a poor pass out was almost punished as Mason Mount thumped into the side netting.

City's slick dominance of the ball but creaky defence lent an intriguing balance to the final quarter of the contest – Sterling curling agonisingly wide before Kyle Walker somehow got back to improbably deny Pulisic a second on the goal line.

Fernandinho was unable to be so precise when denying Tammy Abraham, leaving Willian to send Ederson the wrong way and prompt celebrations on Merseyside.

 

What does it mean: Chelsea take important step towards the Champions League

Although most of the focus was understandable on the main consequence of this Chelsea victory, it was a huge three points for the Stamford Bridge side. Their five-point advantage over a resurgent Manchester United in fifth is restored, while a wobbling Leicester City are now just a point better off with seven matches remaining.

De Bruyne shows his class once again

It feels like a trick of the mind that City won a thrilling title battle last season with De Bruyne reduced to a bit-part role by two medial knee ligament injuries. He has performed at a level above his colleagues this time around, with his free-kick here another champagne moment that adds weight to his case for end-of-season honours.

Mendy's moment to forget

In the build-up to this match, Mendy spoke of how this was his "time" and how he wanted to show people "the real Mendy" following his injury nightmare. Presumably, the slapstick version on display for Chelsea's opener was not what he had in mind. Guardiola needs a more reliable left-back next season, in terms of both form and fitness.

What's next?

Liverpool will emerge at the Etihad Stadium as champions, with the main bit of pre-match intrigue now set to revolve around whether a guard of honour is workable in the age of social distancing. Before that, City and Chelsea have away FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday at Newcastle United and Leicester respectively.

Liverpool's trip to Manchester City next week will take place at the Etihad Stadium after council officials decided there was no need to move the game.

The July 2 fixture had been earmarked as one that was being considered for being moved to a neutral venue, as Liverpool close in on the Premier League title.

Concerns that Liverpool fans could gather in large numbers, at a time when the coronavirus pandemic remains a threat to public health, had led to suggestions some games could be moved.

Greater Manchester Police has been carrying out risk assessments of Premier League games in the area, and the visit of Liverpool has now been cleared by Manchester City Council.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, an executive member for skills, culture and leisure, said: “The council's safety advisory group [SAG] for the Etihad Stadium met this morning to review the upcoming fixture between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC.

"Following the most recent round of Premier League fixtures, which have all taken place behind closed doors, the SAG has signalled it has no objections to the above fixture taking place at the Etihad Stadium as planned at 8.15pm, Thursday July 2. As with all other Premier League matches this fixture will take place behind closed doors, with no fans present."

Liverpool have moved to the brink of becoming English champions for the first time since 1990 after a 4-0 home win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday left them needing a maximum of two points from their remaining seven games.

There is a possibility of the title being secured before Liverpool head to Manchester, with City needing to win at Chelsea this Thursday to delay celebrations on Merseyside.

Jurgen Klopp's side would make certain of the title with a draw at City, given Pep Guardiola's team are the only side that can mathematically catch Liverpool.

Kalidou Koulibaly has been a man in demand for quite some time.

Clubs in Europe have reportedly queued up to sign the Napoli centre-back.

Koulibaly could finally get his move, with a Premier League giant reportedly working on a deal.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FRONTRUNNERS FOR KOULIBALY

Manchester City are favourites to prise Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, according to Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times.

Koulibaly has long been linked with a Napoli exit – City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Barcelona all reported admirers.

But it seems the star defender is more likely to join Pep Guardiola's City than Premier League leaders Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is among the alternatives to Inter's Lautaro Martinez for Barcelona, says Sky Sport Italia. Barca want to sign Martinez but the LaLiga champions are struggling to meet Inter's demands. Now Cavani, who will not sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain and is a free agent, could end up at Camp Nou. The Uruguayan forward has also been linked to Inter and Atletico Madrid. Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also on the list, though Juventus are reportedly eyeing the disgruntled Gabon international.

Juve and Barca have reached an agreement over a swap deal involving Arthur and Miralem Pjanic, reports Goal. Arthur had been reluctant to leave Barca for Juve but the Spanish giants could receive a fee of €70million.

Liverpool are frontrunners to sign Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara, says Bild. The Spanish midfielder had been set to extend his contract but he has apparently backed out of a new deal.

Borussia Dortmund may keep Jadon Sancho after all. The England international has been tipped to join United at the end of the season. Unless Dortmund receive £117m (€130m), they will continue with Sancho, reports Sport Bild, which also claims the Bundesliga club could offer a bumper new deal.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Lazio and Inter are battling over the signing of Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. Inter have reportedly made a €25milion offer for Kumbulla, who has also been linked to Juve.

Chelsea and Real Madrid are going head-to-head for Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, claims WinSports. Chelsea are believed to have submitted an offer worth £8m (€8.8m) more than Madrid's bid.

Fred is ready to discuss a new long-term contract with United, the Sun reports. After a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, the Brazilian has established himself as a key member of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

- According to Le10 Sport, Madrid and Barca are interested in Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.

Jurgen Klopp joked Pep Guardiola should play poker after the Manchester City boss hinted he may rest some key players for Thursday's trip to Chelsea.

The reigning Premier League champions travel to Stamford Bridge before playing Newcastle United less than 72 hours later in an FA Cup quarter-final at the weekend.

City must win against Frank Lampard's side to keep the title race alive, mathematically at least, after Liverpool moved closer to being crowned with a resounding 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

Asked about Guardiola's comments on leaving out some of his leading names against Chelsea, Klopp told Sky Sports: "What? He said that? Pep... he should play poker probably."

Klopp had exalted Guardiola's squad before the game against the Eagles and was again effusive in his praise after the victory, admitting his Reds cannot expect to play in a similar manner.

"Manchester City - I couldn't respect them more," the Liverpool boss added.

"The football they play, I really like it a lot. We are different, we have to be different. We cannot be like Manchester City. 

"We probably celebrate different things when they happen. There are different ways of football and I like them both."

After a 0-0 draw away at neighbours Everton on Sunday, Liverpool rediscovered their scoring touch to brush aside Palace and move to the brink of glory, albeit the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meant no fans were inside Anfield to enjoy the occasion.

"Imagine if the stadium was full today and all the people could have experienced that live – it would have been amazing," Klopp said.

"I don't think the game would have been better, to be honest. My boys played like everybody was in the stadium. The atmosphere on the pitch was incredible. 

"It was for sure the best counter-pressing game I've ever seen behind closed doors. It was exceptional. 

"The attitude shown by the boys was amazing, I liked it a lot - and the football we played as well."

Trent Alexander-Arnold is not concerned by the prospect of Liverpool clinching the title due to results elsewhere, insisting the Premier League leaders must "keep pushing" in the final weeks of the season.

After Alexander-Arnold's stunning free-kick set Liverpool on their way to a 4-0 win against Crystal Palace on Wednesday, the Reds are on the brink of a first league championship in 30 years.

The title will be theirs if Manchester City fail to win at Chelsea, where Pep Guardiola has suggested he could already be looking towards an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle United.

Liverpool could be champions as soon as Thursday, but Alexander-Arnold is not looking for an opportunity to wind down.

"It's up to [Guardiola], he's the manager," the right-back told Sky Sports. "We've got to focus on ourselves and not take things for granted.

"For us, we're not really hoping that Man City lose or drop points. We focus on ourselves and we know it's in our hands. Whatever happens tomorrow, we've still got to go to City next week and try to get a result.

"We've still got a lot of games left in the season, so we need to keep pushing ourselves and hopefully set a few records along the way."

He added: "It's two points, so it's quite close. We know a lot can happen in the Premier League but we are close.

"We've waited a long time for this, we've worked hard for it over the last few years, as a team and as a squad. As a club, this is what we've always dreamed of.

"We are in a good position and hopefully we will be able to get over the line soon."

Alexander-Arnold's superb set-pieces prompted comparisons to former England captain David Beckham from Liverpool great Jamie Carragher, working for Sky Sports.

"I've been practising a lot and obviously I had a few against Everton," Alexander-Arnold said. "I was probably a bit disappointed not to score.

"I obviously got the chance today and was able put it away. It's always good to get the ball rolling for the lads and we kicked on from there.

"Obviously [comparisons to Beckham are] massive. He's probably one of the best in history, probably the best free-kick taker in Premier League history, from what I can think of.

"Obviously the comparisons are really nice, but there's still a lot of work to get to his level."

Benjamin Mendy wants Manchester City to benefit from "the real Mendy" between now and the end of the season.

The France left-back moved to the Etihad Stadium from Monaco for £52million in 2017 but his first two campaigns in the Premier League were decimated by bouts of knee surgery.

It has proved a long road back to form and fitness for the 25-year-old, who has only been able to show flashes of the dynamic qualities that saw him establish himself as one of the most exciting attacking full-backs in Europe as Monaco stormed to the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title.

An assured performance as City resumed their Premier League campaign with a 3-0 win over Arsenal last week won praise from Pep Guardiola and, with Chelsea up next at Stamford Bridge, Mendy is confident he can scale his previous heights.

"This is my time," he said. "The way Manchester City, the staff, the players were behind me, helped me, pushed me, I want to give them the real Mendy back.

"Inside, I know the way I work. It was hard when I was in the hospital, the recovery; this is the life. People don't see all of that. It is not easy.

"Even in the first game you are back you are expected to be at the top because people watch the game for that.

"They don't have time to say he was injured. They want a good performance and I understand that and it gives me more motivation to work hard. I think now I am in one my best periods at Manchester City."

The enforced lay-off from competitive action due to the coronavirus pandemic is one Mendy feels he used wisely.

"During the lockdown I was training all the time. We do our training with Manchester City but I was doing more," he explained.

"I know I need to work all the time because my knee needs to be good all of the time."

Such dedication is unlikely to go unnoticed by Guardiola, who questioned Mendy's focus at the start of last season, when he reported late for training the night after watching the heavyweight title bout between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.

The defender is keen to repay Guardiola's faith and, with the FA Cup and Champions League still up for grabs, put his stamp on a City trophy triumph he can truly feel a part of.

"When Pep says he missed me I am always happy. It is something very good and it touched me," Mendy added.

"I want to show him, I think he knows, but I want to show Manchester City and the world.

"First Manchester City, because it is my team and I love this team and give everything for them because they deserve that for what they did for me for two years, while winning the cups and titles.

"I played a few games, but honestly, you win and I don't feel the same. I am happy, but I don't feel the same. I want to fight and say I helped my team win this trophy."

Pep Guardiola is hopeful Sergio Aguero can return for the conclusion of Manchester City's Champions League campaign after the club's all-time leading scorer underwent knee surgery.

Aguero was operated on by Guardiola's preferred surgeon, Dr Ramon Cugat, in Barcelona on Wednesday, two days on from aggravating a pre-existing complaint during Monday's 5-0 win over Burnley.

City have not confirmed the precise nature of the striker's setback but reports in his native Argentina claim Aguero has suffered meniscus damage.

The recovery period from such a surgery typically ranges from four to six weeks, meaning a return for the second leg of City's last-16 encounter against Real Madrid – which will take place on August 7 or 8 – looks a possibility.

Speaking ahead of the trip to Chelsea in the Premier League, Guardiola acknowledged being without his most reliable goalscorer would be a significant setback in the quest for continental glory.

City have won six of the past seven domestic trophies on offer but have not been able to take that dominance onto the European stage, where they are facing a two-season absence pending the outcome of their appeal against a UEFA ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"Of course, the impact is big," said Guardiola, whose side will progress to a final eight tournament in Lisbon from August 12-23 if they can drive home a 2-1 advantage established at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"To win the Champions League you have to arrive in the right moment, the right time in the best possible condition.

"But at the same time, the situation is what it is and sometimes the rest of the players step forward to solve these situations.

"We have to wait and hopefully [Aguero] can help us against Madrid and, if we are good enough to go through, maybe for the next rounds."

As the games come thick and fast in the restarted season, Guardiola is ready to think creatively with Gabriel Jesus now the only fit natural striker in his first-team squad.

Selecting players in unusual roles to fine effect has become something of a forte for the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss, although the suggestion Ilkay Gundogan – who has spent most of this season in defensive midfield – could be used as an attacking spearhead raised eyebrows.

"The players who understand the game and are so smart, they can play in all the positions," Guardiola said. "There are incredible players who play in just one position and Ilkay can play in many positions.

"Not like a striker, a main target, but a striker who can drop and play and get to the box. He is an outstanding player because he is so intelligent.

"That's why, for the disappointing situation for Sergio because we need him a lot, we have Gabriel. We don't have any doubts about him.

"But of course, we play a lot of games in a short time of recovery and preparation. So that's why you have to think of different options."

City produced arguably their two finest performances this season when Guardiola picked teams without a conventional striker.

En route to EFL Cup success, a side with Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne roaming as nominal leaders of the attack beat Manchester United 3-1 in the first leg of the semi-final – racing into a 3-0 half-time lead.

The same hybrid 4-4-2 setup was also deployed from the start against Madrid, and Guardiola feels he has plenty of options with which to unleash that strategy again.

"[Raheem] Sterling can play there without a doubt, I think it is an incredible position for him," he added.

"At the same time we can play Bernardo. Bernardo played there at Old Trafford and helped us to qualify for the cup final.

"Bernardo is another player like Gundogan who can play in different positions because he is so smart."

Frank Lampard felt Raheem Sterling was wrong to compare the managerial careers of himself and Steven Gerrard to Sol Campbell but praised the Manchester City and England winger for his work in trying to highlight racial discrimination in football.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the globe earlier this month, Sterling spoke to BBC Newsnight on a range of issues and discussed the lack of representation for black and ethnic minority people in the upper echelons of English football.

While also mentioning the minimal diversity present at boardroom level, Sterling struck a comparison between the early steps in coaching taken by Gerrard, Lampard, Campbell and their former England team-mate Ashley Cole.

Lampard took charge of Chelsea after guiding Derby County to the play-off final in his debut season in management, while Gerrard's first senior post after working at Liverpool's academy came with Scottish giants Rangers.

By contrast, Campbell is in charge of Southend United, who will begin next season in League Two – the fourth tier, where the ex-Arsenal centre-back masterminded a sensational escape from relegation for Macclesfield Town in 2018-19.

"I always refer back to football, the coaching staff you see around clubs," Sterling said. "I'll give a perfect one. There's Steven Gerrard, your Frank Lampards, you have your Sol Campbells and you have your Ashley Coles.

"All had great careers, all played for England. At the same time, they've all respectfully done their coaching badges to coach at the highest level and the two that haven't been given the right opportunities are the two black former players."

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's game against City at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, Lampard took exception to Sterling highlighting him specifically.

"In the last year or two, Raheem Sterling has been brave enough to speak about issues that maybe hadn't been broached and should have been broached a while before," he said. "That's huge credit to him.

"In the case of managers, I think Raheem got it, from my point of view, slightly wrong because it felt a very casual comparison.

"If you compare opportunities and pathways of individual managers - you can compare myself, you can compare Steven, you can compare Sol, who did an incredible job at Macclesfield and now at Southend that all of us would find very difficult to do."

Having played under him at Derby, Cole is now coaching in Chelsea's youth setup, and Lampard continued: "You compare to Ashley Cole, who is doing a great job and I think is going to be successful in whatever he wants to do.

"I think it's very hard to make that comparison from the outside. Those opportunities have to be equal for everybody, I think we all agree on that. But within that then there are the details of how hard you've worked.

"I've certainly worked hard from the start of my career to try and get this opportunity and there are a million things that knock you, set you back, you fight against."

Premier League players have worn the Black Lives Matter slogan on their shirts since the competitive action resumed, also taking a knee at the start of each match in solidarity with campaigns against police brutality.

Nevertheless, beyond the undoubted value of raising awareness, the underlying numbers in the English game remain troubling. Of 91 managers at professional clubs, six are black, while there are no black referees.

Lampard praised what he perceived to be a diverse outlook at Derby and Chelsea, based on his experiences with the two clubs, but acknowledged there is considerable work to be done.

"I think we're moving forward and can move forward more quickly, where players are getting equal opportunities if they move into management," he said.

"Not just players, young coaches when they come into the game. The FA do a lot of good work, I've just finished my Pro License. It was very diverse, it was very open.

"That needs to be encouraged. If there's anything we can do to help making sure everyone gets equal opportunity and a pathway into management, it needs to be done. The numbers suggest there are things that need to be done."

Lampard added: "With Raheem, I think the individual comparison when you don't have the detail of each individual person's pathway wasn't quite right.

"Again, I'll level that out because I want to say that Raheem Sterling as a person and a player and what he's stood up for over the past two years has been fantastic."

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has undergone surgery on his left knee in Barcelona.

Aguero sustained an injury, reported to be damage to his meniscus, during Monday's 5-0 Premier League win over Burnley.

Pep Guardiola told reporters on Wednesday that his top scorer would be operated on this Thursday by his preferred surgeon Dr Ramon Cugat, who has treated City players including Benjamin Mendy, Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne during the Catalan's time in Manchester.

However, shortly after his boss' news conference to preview the forthcoming match at Chelsea, Aguero tweeted a picture of himself from his hospital bed, suggesting the procedure had already been carried out.

"Everything went well and I'll soon begin recovery," he wrote.

"A big thanks to Dr Cugat and his team – and to all of you for your support."

Recovery from meniscus surgery generally ranges from four to six weeks, meaning Aguero could return for the concluding stages of this season's Champions League.

City hold a 2-1 advantage over Real Madrid ahead of the second leg of their last-16 tie, which will take place on August 7 or 8.

Should Guardiola's men progress, they will take part in an eight-team mini-tournament in Lisbon, between August 12 and 23, comprised of one-off quarter-final, semi-final and final matches.

Aguero has scored 16 goals from 24 Premier League appearances this season, just 18 of which were starts. He averages a goal every 91 minutes.

If the injury rules him out of City's final eight top-flight matches, his streak of scoring at least 20 times in the league for the last five seasons will come to an end.

Frank Lampard is heartened by football's support of the Black Lives Matter movement staying strong in the wake of the offensive banner that marred Manchester City's 5-0 win over Burnley.

At the start of Monday's match, a plane carrying a banner reading "White Lives Matter Burnley" flew over the Etihad Stadium.

Burnley captain Ben Mee said he was "embarrassed" and "ashamed" by the incident and his club have pledged lifetime bans for the perpetrators.

Lampard's Chelsea host City on Thursday and he told a news conference that the widespread condemnation of the banner shows his sport will not be thrown off course at what increasingly looks to be a pivotal moment.

"I think we were all disappointed with the banner," he said. "One of the really positive things about recent happenings and the movement that's happening is the togetherness that the players are showing, clubs are showing, everyone involved is showing to try and move forward.

"I think it was a small step back but the reaction has been another positive move.

"Everybody has reacted in the same way outside of the people that think the other way to the rest of us. I think that's been positive and we must keep moving forward.

"Every game, every day you're seeing players, clubs come together. That's a great thing.

"That's what this is all about - being together and moving forward. We have some work to do and we'll all keep doing that."

If Liverpool beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday and City fail to beat Chelsea 24 hours later, Jurgen Klopp's men will be crowned Premier League champions.

During Lampard's playing days at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea endured a sometimes tempestuous rivalry with the Anfield outfit, but that has no bearing on his feelings over the destination of the title.

"I've got absolutely no thought of Liverpool's situation [in relation] to this game for us," said Lampard, who also played at City in 2014-15 to conclude his top-flight career in England.

"It makes no odds to us at all. I and we respect Liverpool and Man City as two fantastic teams.

"In the last two, three seasons they've been dominant. We can look at what it means for us this match, we want to try and win, we go against a great opponent and that's the only way I see it."

Sergio Aguero is to undergo knee surgery on Thursday, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

City had said on Tuesday that Aguero would travel to Barcelona for an assessment on his damaged left knee.

The Argentina striker was in discomfort after winning a first-half penalty in Monday's 5-0 Premier League victory over Burnley and the injury appeared to be aggravated in a challenge with Clarets skipper Ben Mee.

Following the game, City boss Pep Guardiola admitted it did not "look good" for Aguero, who was struggling with the injury in training prior to the top-flight's resumption.

He will now go under the knife, although he has not definitively been ruled out of the conclusion to the Champions League campaign, which will take place in August.

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool holding a 20-point lead over Manchester City is "pretty unthinkable" after watching Pep Guardiola's side thrash Burnley.

The reigning Premier League champions followed up a 3-0 win over Arsenal in the first game back following the coronavirus-enforced break to the season with another impressive display on Monday.

City scored five without reply to brush aside Burnley and, with Liverpool only able to manage a 0-0 draw in Sunday's Merseyside derby, the Reds' huge cushion at the summit has been reduced.

Klopp's side get the chance to respond on Wednesday when they host Crystal Palace at Anfield, with a first league title in 30 years within touching distance ahead of a trip to the Etihad Stadium on July 2.

"The only thing I realised from watching the game last night was how is it possible that anybody is 20 points ahead of this team? That's pretty much unthinkable, actually," Klopp told the media.

"So we must have done, obviously, a couple of things really well and right that we can have the situation here.  

"But, no, I don't think about City catching us, or whatever. I think about Crystal Palace. 

"I watched them because we play them in eight or nine days, and not watching them to hope that they lose – it was never like this.  

"Maybe I wanted them to lose last season against Leicester, but that didn't work very well so that's why I stopped doing that. That was one time and it didn't help. 

"I respect them a lot, I've said that plenty of times. They look like they will win all their remaining games because they are really strong, but they were always strong. 

"We are not so bad, so let's think about that."

Mohamed Salah – who was an unused substitute – and Andy Robertson were not involved in the stalemate at Goodison Park due to fitness concerns, though Klopp confirmed both could feature against Palace.

However, James Milner and Joel Matip are ruled out after the pair were forced off with injuries against Everton.

"[Salah] trained yesterday completely normal, he will train today completely normal I would guess and then he is available. What I make with the line-up, you have to wait until tomorrow," Klopp said on Tuesday.

"It is the same with Robbo; he trained yesterday completely normal as well, so it's the same.

"Millie and Joel will not be available for tomorrow. We have to figure out exactly how long it will take, but tomorrow they will not play."

Sergio Aguero is to travel to Barcelona for an assessment on his damaged left knee, Manchester City have confirmed.

The Argentina striker was in discomfort after winning a first-half penalty in Monday's 5-0 victory over Burnley and the injury appeared to be aggravated in a challenge with Clarets skipper Ben Mee.

Following the game, City boss Pep Guardiola admitted it did not "look good" for Aguero, who was struggling with the injury in training prior to the Premier League's resumption.

Original reports suggested Aguero had damaged his left meniscus and would require surgery.

City stopped short of confirming the 32-year-old will go under the knife, but it remains a distinct possibility.

"@aguerosergiokun suffered damage to his left knee in our recent 5-0 win over Burnley," City posted on Twitter.

"The striker will now travel to Barcelona to see Dr Ramon Cugat for further examination.

"Everyone at City wishes Sergio the best with his recovery."

It remains to be seen if CIty's top scorer will have any further involvement in the side's Premier League and FA Cup campaigns.

City also face a nervy wait to see if their talismanic striker will be available for the resumption of the Champions League in August.

Guardiola's men still have to complete their last-16 tie against Real Madrid, which they lead 2-1 from the first leg.

Should they progress, City will compete in an eight-team straight-knockout tournament in Lisbon to determine this season's Champions League victors.

Sergio Aguero is to travel to Barcelona for an assessment on his damaged left knee, Manchester City have confirmed.

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