Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City share the same hunger to lift the Premier League trophy as their title rivals, warning perfection may still be needed for the champions to retain their crown. 

It has been a mixed week for City's rivals thus far, with Arsenal thrashing Chelsea 5-0 on Tuesday before Liverpool suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat in Wednesday's Merseyside derby at Everton.

Those results mean the Gunners sit four points clear of City and Liverpool lead the champions by one, but with two games in hand, the title race is still very much in City's hands.

They go to Brighton and Hove Albion on Thursday before facing Nottingham Forest on Sunday, and Guardiola still thinks even the slightest slip-up could prove costly. 

Asked whether City need to win their six remaining games to win the title, Guardiola said: "Yes, absolutely. They gave us a chance, with the fact they lost last week to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. 

"But we knew what we had to do before those games, and now we have to win all games so that at the end, we have it in our hands to retain our title. 

"Nothing changes. The fact is, we knew what we had to do before, and now nothing has changed."

Guardiola was then asked whether City are as motivated to win the title as their rivals, having lifted the trophy in five of their seven seasons under him to date.

He said: "I would not be here [if not]. There are so many games, and to be in this position after what we have done in the past, it would not be possible [without the desire]. 

"We know the difficulty is extreme, and it will remain difficult because we have tough games coming up. We go one game at a time, and we know that if we lose, it will be so tough to retain the title. 

"Last Saturday proved the many difficulties we have, especially the schedule and recovery time after the game against [Real] Madrid. The players were unbelievable."

Guardiola hit out at the busy nature of the schedule after Saturday's FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea, saying he couldn't understand how his players had managed to perform just three days after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Madrid.

Those comments have sparked renewed debate about the football calendar, and Guardiola was asked whether elite clubs had a right to complain while organising money-spinning pre-season tours around the globe.

"Yeah, but we have to do it," he said. "We have to pay the salaries of the players and the manager, and the club has fans all around the world who want to see us. They are an income for us. 

"It's not easy, but we have to get resources. I would love to say don't go to another continent to play, have another week of holiday, and then train here. But we have to understand the club. 

"It's not just Man City. Every club needs those financial resources to be sustainable. Now that we've won a lot, for many years, we have a lot of supporters. That's why it's necessary to do, and you have to adapt. 

"But that is not the reason why [he complained]. The reason is that the schedule is so tight. I'm sorry, it's not."

Virgil van Dijk conceded Liverpool might be out of the Premier League title race after they suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat to Everton in Wednesday's Merseyside derby.

Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored in either half to give the Toffees their first win over Liverpool at Goodison Park since 2010.

Liverpool struggled to find a way through the Toffees' defence despite dominating for long periods, and the Reds' captain says they will not outlast Arsenal and Manchester City without major improvements.  

Speaking to Sky Sports, Van Dijk said: "If we play like today, then we have no chance to consider ourselves in the title race. 

"We have to just focus on the next game and that will be a tough one anyway, so we will see.

"We're very disappointed, in so many ways. I think everyone has to look at their own performances. Did they really give everything, and do they really want to win the league?

"We're still fighting and there are still games after tonight, but if we play like we did overall in the game today – not winning challenges and giving the referee a chance to give free-kicks like he did many times, then you have no chance to win the title."

Sean Dyche challenged his Everton players to "go and do it again" after his team defeated Liverpool at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby.

Everton won 2-0 on Wednesday, clinching a home victory over their local rivals for the first time since 2010 thanks to goals from Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

While it also dented Liverpool's title hopes, the victory presented a huge step forward in Everton's hopes of staying up.

They are now eight points clear of the relegation zone, with four games left to play, and the possibility of points to come back should they successfully appeal the second of their points deductions for financial breaches.

Dyche, though, insisted the job is not done as he looks towards another big game on Saturday, when Brentford visit Goodison Park.

"Very pleased with the reaction," Dyche told Sky Sports.

"This was a different game with the organisation and the belief in the organisation. They're a good side, we know that. The commitment from us had to be there. The energy of the side and also the key moments.

"We spoke about the desire and the energy of the team and the physical side of the game. The lads did it on Sunday and they'll have to do it again. That's the challenge.

"We stayed focused tonight and I asked if they could stay with us and they did. Sunday was massive and now it was a massively important derby game. For people like Seamus Coleman, he wears his heart on his sleeve and he's so happy.

"We should be on 41 points and the story's different. Three clean sheets in three home games. The challenge for the players is to go and do it again."

Calvert-Lewin led the line brilliantly, converting Everton's second with a towering header early in the second half. He has scored three goals in his last four Premier League games for the Toffees, as many as in his previous 28 appearances in the competition.

"I thought [Calvert-Lewin] was outstanding tonight," Dyche said.

"We've been trying to get him back to where he needs to be and I thought he was outstanding. He gets a goal. He tried to get it over the line and I love that. The second one is a great header. No, I thought he was outstanding tonight.

"Jordan Pickford made some big saves in the first half. It's rare you stop these sides having chances so you need moments yourself. It's hard to pick out one or two [players]."

Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes were dealt a potentially fatal blow as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat to city rivals Everton in an exhilarating Merseyside derby.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's header made sure of the Toffees’ victory – their first in a derby at Goodison Park since 2010 – after Jarrad Branthwaite had poked them ahead.

Luis Diaz came closest to launching a Liverpool comeback, but struck the post, leaving Jurgen Klopp's side with just one win from their last four top-flight outings.

Defeat leaves the Reds three points behind league-leaders Arsenal with four games left, with third-place Manchester City yet to play, while Everton moved eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Everton dominated the early stages and thought they had the chance to take the lead from the spot after just six minutes. Alisson felled Calvert-Lewin in a one-on-one, but the striker was offside in the build-up, and the penalty was overturned after a VAR review.

The Toffees looked particularly dangerous from free-kicks, and Liverpool were given a warning when Calvert-Lewin’s thumping header was parried by Alisson.

Liverpool were left to rue their slack defending in the 26th minute as it pinballed around their box, with Branthwaite’s low shot eventually beating Alisson and spinning over the line off the inside of the post.

Jordan Pickford made three big saves to keep Everton in front at the break, denying Darwin Nunez, Diaz, and Andy Robertson as Liverpool rallied.

While the Reds made a bright start to the second half, they could not take their chances, and Calvert-Lewin punished them from a corner as he rose unmarked at the back post to thump a towering header into the bottom-left corner for his third goal in four games.

Liverpool’s best chance fell to Diaz in the 69th minute as he finally unlocked Everton’s defence, but a brilliant curler struck the right-hand post – the 22nd time Liverpool have hit the woodwork in the league this season.

Mohamed Salah also squandered a late chance, blazing over the bar from close range to sum up a wasteful night for the Reds as Everton held on for a potentially pivotal result at both ends of the table.

Dyche’s defence rallies

Each of Everton's last seven victories in the Premier League have been to nil, an impressive feat as they have failing to win any of their last 12 when conceding at least once (D4 L8).

They had to dig deep to get another vital three points in the relegation battle, keeping Liverpool at bay with impressive blocks from the brilliant Branthwaite, James Tarkowski and Ben Godfrey, as well as excellent saves from Pickford, who was on form to deny Harvey Elliott and Salah in the dying embers.

This win also ended a run of 12 without a victory against Liverpool in the Premier League at home, which was their longest such run against any other opponent in their league history.

Nine days ago, Everton were thrashed 6-0 by Chelsea. Now, after just their second derby win in over 13 years, they are within touching distance of safety.

Title hopes extinguished?

For the 22nd time in all competitions this season, Liverpool were punished for a slow start as they conceded the opening goal.

Jurgen Klopp, on his farewell tour, was aiming to become the first Reds manager to win 10 Premier League Merseyside derbies but instead suffered just his second loss against the Toffees (W9 D6).

It was just Liverpool’s second defeat in their last 27 games against Everton (W12 D13), and with Man City having two games in hand, it could have just ended their title challenge.

Liverpool's pursuit of Feyenoord boss Arne Slot proves there is "a dearth" of elite coaches currently on the market, according to former Reds defender Jamie Carragher. 

On Wednesday, widespread reports claimed Liverpool have entered talks with Feyenoord, who will reportedly demand at least €10million (£8.5m) in compensation to part with Slot.

Slot joined Feyenoord in July 2021 after leaving AZ Alkmaar, leading the Eredivisie giants to the Europa Conference League final – which they lost to Roma – in his first campaign at the helm. 

The club's second league title in 20 years followed in 2022-23, and though Feyenoord are set to relinquish their crown to PSV this term, they beat NEC Nijmegen to lift the KNVB Cup on Sunday.

Xabi Alonso was thought to be Liverpool's primary target to replace outgoing boss Jurgen Klopp, but the former midfielder – who was also interesting Bayern Munich – has announced his intention to stay with Bayer Leverkusen.

Sporting CP's Ruben Amorim was also linked with the post, but it is thought he is no longer a leading candidate. 

Speaking in his role as a Sky Sports pundit ahead of Wednesday's Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, Carragher warned the job will be a major step up for Slot if he is appointed.

"What I would say is I think going from Feyenoord to Liverpool is a huge jump, and I think it shows at this moment that there's probably a dearth of real top managers out there," he said.

"Initially it was Xabi Alonso, it's only his first full season as a manager. Then there was talk of Ruben Amorim from Sporting, again he's only 39. Now Arne Slot looks like he's the favourite.

"I don't think it's like Rafael Benitez coming in, or Jurgen Klopp. Benitez came in off the back of two LaLiga titles and a UEFA Cup, Klopp had won a couple of league titles with Borussia Dortmund.

"Liverpool were in a different space back then, certainly the team I was part of with Benitez… we were a team looking to qualify for the top four. It was the same when Klopp came in.

"Liverpool are in a different area now, fancying themselves to challenge for the Premier League every season, and in next season's Champions League they'd expect to reach the quarter-finals at least.

"I think it's a huge jump but he's obviously a great coach with a great track record with the clubs he's been at so far. We'll see."

Arne Slot appears to be at the front of the queue to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager.

Klopp confirmed in January that he would be leaving the Reds at the end of the season.

Xabi Alonso, who has led Bayer Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title, was swiftly established as a leading candidate to take the helm at Anfield, where he starred as a player for the Reds between 2004 and 2009.

The 42-year-old, however, is staying put in Germany, and Liverpool's search for Klopp's successor has taken them to Feyenoord's door.

Slot has been previously linked to jobs in the Premier League. Leeds United wanted to appoint him last season before their relegation to the Championship, while he was targeted by Tottenham before they appointed Ange Postecoglou.

The Dutchman intimated when linked with Spurs: "A normal next step would be to go abroad and I've always said that the best league in the world is the Premier League."

Ideally, Liverpool will be aiming for a coach who can come close to replicating Klopp's style of play, and in particular has a flair for working with and developing young players.

Slot has enjoyed fantastic success in Rotterdam. He became Feyenoord head coach in December 2022, after leaving AZ, and went on to win the Eredivisie title in 2022-23, having reached the Europa League final in the previous season.

The 45-year-old has a 64.4 per cent win record from 146 games in charge, winning 94, drawing 29 and losing just 23.

His Feyenoord team have scored 329 goals, an average of 2.2 per match, conceding 147 in return. Slot's points per game is a hugely impressive 2.13.

Feyenoord are, though, set to relinquish their Eredivisie crown, as they trail leaders PSV by nine points. They have, however, won the KNVB Cup this term. 

As there is no break clause in the Dutchman's contract, it has been reported that a compensation fee in the region of €10million (£8.5m) could prise him away from Feyenoord.

Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim is another coach who has been heavily linked with the Liverpool job, albeit he is reportedly in talks with West Ham.

Feyenoord coach Arne Slot has emerged as a leading candidate to succeed Jurgen Klopp when he leaves as Liverpool manager at the end of the campaign.

Slot guided the Dutch club to their first title in six years last season and currently has them in second place in the Eredivisie table having won the Dutch Cup at the weekend.

The PA news agency understands Liverpool consider Slot to fit all the criteria set out in their recruitment process, although they are still looking at other contenders.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepts results are all that matter at this stage of the season as he looks to end his final Merseyside derby with a rare victory at Goodison Park.

Klopp has lost just one of 18 matches against the Toffees – the behind-closed-doors game at Anfield in February 2021 – but across Stanley Park his record is just two wins and five draws.

He was surprised by some of the reaction to Sunday’s 3-1 win at Fulham, which attracted criticism for not being the most fluent, but insists winning was the main objective, with no margin for error in a title race in which they are currently third favourites.

“I know this is the last part of the season: it is not about playing the freshest football of the whole year – that would be strange if that works out with the schedule all the teams have,” said Klopp, who will be without Diogo Jota for at least a fortnight after the forward injured himself scoring at Craven Cottage.

“But you have to win games and I think we know how to do that and we have to make sure everybody understands the way we want to try (on Wednesday).

“I wouldn’t say it was straightforward but until two weeks ago everything was probably better than anyone would have expected.

“Then you have this week (losing to Atalanta and Crystal Palace) when the performances were not as bad as the results felt afterwards.

“And then it is like, ‘Why don’t you score enough? If you look at our numbers, yes, there are two teams who have scored more than us (Arsenal and Manchester City) but it is not like there are two teams who scored 50 goals more than us.

“It is always about how you can get the right feeling again for the situation and the next game and we usually do that. I am really happy now with the response.”

Liverpool’s disappointing run of games at Goodison stretches beyond Klopp’s arrival in 2015, with nine of the last 11 encounters ending in draws.

Klopp’s five draws are more than at any other away ground, but that has to change on Wednesday night if they are to maintain the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester City.

“I don’t know exactly when my first derby was, 2016, but when I (first) came here it would not be honest if I said that is my game of the year. It wasn’t, I knew how important it was for the people, but didn’t feel it then.

“Now I know it and feel it. My understanding developed over the years. They are always difficult games, especially there, but it is not too important, what we had in the past.”

Losing Jota will not help in unlocking what is likely to be a determined Everton defence, especially as Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz have all looked below their best in recent weeks.

“Unfortunately Diogo scored the goal, felt a little bit and now we found out it’s a little bit more so he will be out for two weeks,” said Klopp, who revealed Jota had complained of a hip problem in the last couple of weeks.

“It’s a small one but we are late in the season, so obviously now it’s not a great moment for each injury pretty much.

“When I say two weeks, actually really it’s pretty much nothing but enough to not be available.”

What the papers say

The top three clubs in the Premier League, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City will battle for Wolves left back Rayan Ait-Nouri this summer, according to the Mirror. The 22-year-old Algerian has played 28 Premier League games for Wolves this season and scored two goals and added an assist.

Meanwhile, Wolves are weighing up a number of players if their goalkeeper Jose Sa leaves in the summer. The Sun reports the clubs reported targets include Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher and Sunderland’s Anthony Patterson.

Crystal Palace are considering a move for 23-year-old Club Brugge midfielder Raphael Onyedika if they lose star players Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, the Sun says.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Luis Diaz: Barcelona are circling the Liverpool forward this summer, who has scored eight goals with four assists in the Premier League this season, according to Spanish outlet Sport.

Ferland Mendy: Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are interested in Real Madrid’s 28-year-old French defender, French publication L’Equipe says.

Jurgen Klopp lauded Liverpool’s “complete” second-half performance after they secured a 3-1 victory at Fulham to move level on points with top-of-the-table Arsenal.

Liverpool regained their winning touch in the Premier League after last week’s 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace as they enjoyed three points with goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ryan Gravenberch and Diogo Jota.

Timothy Castagne had equalised for the Cottagers with his first goal for the club in the first half but it was not enough as Klopp’s men showed their class after the break.

“The second half was a complete performance, if you want,” Klopp said.

“It was our best performance so far that we’ve had against Fulham. I thought the next step was to win today, the boys did that and it was really good. We created much more chances, we could’ve scored more often.

“I’m really happy with the performance and hopefully nobody got hurt and we will see because we have to recover quickly as we’re playing on Wednesday.

“We’re in the situation we are at the moment because of the character of these boys. Nobody expected us to be here and we are and that’s because of the boys.”

Alexander-Arnold’s 32nd-minute free-kick was the pick of the goals after his stunning strike gave the Reds the lead.

Klopp believes “nobody plays like” the full-back after he returned from a knee injury at Anfield last week.

https://twitter.com/premierleague/status/1782083567528333595

When asked how important it is to have Alexander-Arnold back in the side, Klopp added: “It’s super important.

“Nobody is like Trent so that’s how it is. The way we play with him can be different so it’s super helpful and I’m really happy about that.

“It’s good for once to have all the big guns around.

“It’s a great free-kick and he has that from time to time. We needed it, it was a great goal, the other goals were good. For long periods of time Trent was exceptional, superb.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva admitted the defending in the lead-up to Liverpool’s second and third goals needed to be better as his side rued a leaky performance at the back.

Silva said: “I think the third goal killed the game, we were very loose on the right. It was one moment we should be stronger in the challenge because we were soft and it was a moment to stop the situation before Jota scored.

“It was hard to concede the second and third in the second half. After that it was hard for us to react.”

Liverpool moved level on points with top-of-the-table Arsenal after their 3-1 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Jurgen Klopp’s men bounced back from Thursday’s exit to Atalanta in the Europa League and last week’s home defeat to Crystal Palace as they continued their pursuit of Premier League glory.

Liverpool in second, who sit one point above Manchester City and trail Arsenal on goal difference, opened the scoring from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick before Timothy Castagne equalised with his first goal for Fulham.

Ryan Gravenberch and Diogo Jota were the difference-makers in the second half as they got in on the act to give their side all three points.

Fulham academy graduate Harvey Elliott, who swapped London for Merseyside in 2019, was galvanised by the home boos as he helped his side create the first chance of the match.

The attacking midfield player instinctively picked out Alexander-Arnold whose cross could not be directed in by Luis Diaz’s glancing header as the ball narrowly missed the inside of Bernd Leno’s post.

In the 22nd minute Alexander-Arnold showed off his elite ball-playing ability as the visitors’ momentum continued.

Alexander-Arnold received the ball centrally and he delivered a first-time side-footed pass in behind Fulham full-back Antonee Robinson before Diaz’s fizzed low cross to Jota was struck wide of the right-hand post as the Reds squandered another golden opportunity to take the lead.

Liverpool’s persistence was rewarded and their deserved breakthrough came in the 32nd minute through the technical Alexander-Arnold who made it 1-0.

Joao Palhinha picked up his customary yellow card when he brought down Jota on the counter attack, allowing Alexander-Arnold to stand over the set-piece in an almost central position yards from the edge of the area.

The set-piece specialist struck the ball with a whipped technique which evaded the helpless Fulham wall before the ball nestled into the top left-hand corner.

The Cottagers had been dormant all half but they came alive in added time to equalise.

After Andreas Pereira instilled belief inside Craven Cottage with a dangerous free-kick which tested Alisson Becker, Rodrigo Muniz’s blocked header off Alex Iwobi’s cross fell kindly to the unmarked Castagne who slammed his effort home from close range.

But parity did not last long as in the 53rd minute Liverpool punished a series of errors to retake the lead.

A period of shoddy defending saw Iwobi with the ball at his feet on the edge of his box but the Nigeria international’s wayward pass found Elliott in a dangerous position.

The 21-year-old opted to lay the ball off to Gravenberch and the Dutchman’s first-time curled effort flew past Leno to make it 2-1.

Liverpool wrapped up the win in the 72nd minute after Cody Gakpo’s pass split the defence and Jota finished with a strike into the bottom right-hand corner.

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk insists “anything is possible” as the Reds seek to overhaul Manchester City and Arsenal in what could be a thrilling season finale.

Jurgen Klopp’s side dropped to third last weekend after defeat to Crystal Palace and the initiative is now with their rivals.

However, Van Dijk remains optimistic about their chances over the final six games.

 

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“Big six. Anything is still possible. We have to give it everything and we will give it everything,” said the Netherlands captain.

“We have to focus on each game as they come.”

A Europa League exit to Atalanta in midweek was another blow to confidence but Van Dijk does not see the point in dwelling on past results.

“We have all the reasons to be disappointed. But it’s our own fault,” he added.

“It’s not one factor, it’s multiple. We’re all human beings, we all want to do well, keep clean sheets and score goals.

“But we are where we are and the situation is what it is. When the games don’t go well – obviously didn’t happen many times this season – we all have to switch it back on.

“We have to focus on ourselves like we always have been doing and that never changes.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva will continue to demand more from Andreas Pereira as the Brazilian looks to maintain his form heading into the closing weeks of the Premier League season.

Pereira scored both goals in Fulham’s 2-0 victory at West Ham last weekend, which was a first win in four matches.

The former Manchester United attacking midfielder had not found the net since August, but is top of Fulham’s assists with eight so far.

The consistency of Pereira, who was born in Belgium, has seen him recalled into the Brazil national team, featuring in both March friendlies against England at Wembley and then Spain.

Silva feels the 28-year-old, who had a successful loan spell at Flamengo before signing for Fulham in the summer of 2022, still has plenty more to offer.

“Andreas, last season made a huge impact. Before he joined us, he played more as a second midfielder and not so offensive,” the Fulham boss said.

“This season, he is going to have one of the best assist records for us – and we will demand more.

“Last week, he showed the desire to arrive in the right areas.”

Fulham host Liverpool on Sunday looking to further dent the Reds’ ambitions.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were knocked out of the Europa League by Atalanta and also slumped to what could prove a costly home defeat against Crystal Palace to lose ground in the Premier League title race.

Fulham have pushed Liverpool in each of their three meetings this season, being narrowly edged out 4-3 after a dramatic finish at Anfield in their league match at the start of December followed by what was a tight Carabao Cup semi-final over two legs.

“Probably some of them (have been) too open for a manager to enjoy, but yes, at Anfield and at the Cottage as well, they have been really – in some moments – emotional games, in other moments entertaining,” Silva said at a press conference.

“Tight games always, in some of them dramatic ends of the match. But even last season, it was really tough for them to come to play at Craven Cottage (in the) Carabao Cup this season, too.”

Silva added: “We want to make life really difficult for Liverpool, to give them a match.

“Let’s hope we can get a different result than the last games that we played against them.

Fulham could yet challenge for a top-10 finish.

“I think we are in the best moment of the season,” Silva said. “We haven’t had big injuries in the last month and a half, or two months.

“It, of course, creates a competition inside our squad that helps myself and the players to reach a different level and good headaches for me to decide, which is always the better situation to plan a game and prepare for the next game.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the return of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota gives their title hopes a much-needed boost.

Defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend saw Klopp’s side drop to third as Manchester City moved into a two-point lead at the top of the table.

But with results faltering, the performance by Alexander-Arnold in the Europa League win over Atalanta, particularly in the first half, has offered renewed hope.

The defender was making his first start since mid-February after a knee injury and, while Jota has yet to have the same impact in three relatively short substitute appearances after a similar two-month lay-off, the clinical nature of his game could offset some of the deficiencies currently being experienced by his fellow forwards.

“We need Trent Alexander-Arnold, of course, but we need him in a really good shape and form and that’s what he has to get up to,” said Klopp ahead of the trip to Fulham.

“It’s not about him and it’s not his fault if he wouldn’t be, it’s just the situation. So how quick can we get him rolling if you want – the same for Diogo.

“We have to find a way to help the boys in the best way, to bring them as quick as possible into their best form or shape and from there we have to go.

“Without them we wouldn’t have a chance. With them we have a chance, with them in a really good football moment the chance gets bigger and bigger.”

Klopp remains positive about their chances despite recent failures and feels six wins could see them snatch the title from the grasp of their rivals.

Although a Europa League exit on aggregate was disappointing there were positives to take from the game.

Alexander-Arnold’s display, drifting infield to dictate play and even popping up in the centre-forward’s position on occasions in Bergamo, was one and a first clean sheet in 10 matches was another.

With struggles up front continuing – Liverpool have scored only two goals in the opening 15 minutes in a league game this season – a more solid backline offers a better platform and that is why Klopp is optimistic.

“I don’t have a lot of qualities but I am always completely honest. If I don’t feel great the players feel it pretty quickly,” he said.

“I cannot really deny or just keep it under the carpet so that means after the game against Palace people ask ‘What do you tell the team now?’.

“But here we are a few days later and I feel absolutely great, I see the good in the situation where we are. It is fantastic.

“The boys know that I don’t tell them things which I don’t believe in and I am 100 percent sure we can really win all of the games we will have to from now on.

“What should influence us more: the last game, the last week or is it the chance in front of us?

“I am fully (of the opinion) that there is a next chance for us and we can turn things absolutely around in all departments. We can make it still an outstanding season.

“It will be a good season but of course how you look at it is in the end is massively influenced by the last part of it.”

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold insists the squad plan to “throw everything” at their final six matches of the season as they try to finish Jurgen Klopp’s final season on a high.

Only a month ago the talk was still of an unprecedented quadruple with the Carabao Cup already in the trophy cabinet but FA Cup and Europa League exits, plus a slip-up in the league, has left them with just one focus.

The task of overhauling Manchester City’s two-point advantage, and also getting ahead of Arsenal, is not an inconsiderable one but Alexander-Arnold said in the aftermath of their Europa League exit to Atalanta despite a 1-0 victory in Bergamo that the players had spoken about what remained of their campaign.

“After the game we spoke quite positively about the rest of the season. We’ve got a month left and we need to give it everything,” said the England international.

“That’s what we are going to do, we are going to throw everything at it and try to do all that we can.

“We know it’s not in our hands any more but we need to be as good as possible and just be in the best position that we can to capitalise if teams do slip up.”

Against Atalanta Alexander-Arnold made his first start since mid-February following a knee injury and in the first half in particular looked like he had never been away, dictating play after being given licence to roam from his nominal right-back position.

The team faded in the second half and the 25-year-old was withdrawn after 72 minutes but he will have a key part to play in the last six matches.

“I think I just ran out of juice in the second half but in the first half I was enjoying my football, finding passes, playing the game I love,” he told the club’s official website.

“I think you can tell by the way I played it was special for me to be back out there and help the team win the game.”

Liverpool head to Fulham on Sunday with the chance to overtake City, who play in the FA Cup semi-final, before a Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park in midweek and then a trip to West Ham.

“We have got a huge game that we need to go and win,” added Alexander-Arnold.

“We have got a very difficult week ahead of us, three away games that we need to win and get results in and that’s our aim now.”

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