Jürgen Klopp says there is ‘no pressure, just opportunity’ for his Liverpool side ahead of a Premier League meeting with Manchester City.
The Reds travel to Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon a solitary point behind Pep Guardiola’s outfit in the race for the title with eight games remaining.
Klopp has seen his side win their last 10 league outings in a row in the club’s bid to close the gap to City at the top of the standings.
Liverpool briefly hit the summit last weekend after defeating Watford at Anfield before City overcame Burnley at Turf Moor to retake their place.
Klopp, who was speaking to Premier League Productions, previewed the match, giving his thoughts on City, his squad, the title race and more.
“Most of the time during the season we create the basis for the decisive period. I can’t avoid, or deny, that it is a decisive period coming up now. We are in a good position for it, that’s true. It’s a little bit like that, a lot of people talk about stuff like this, well, I’m not sure if a lot of people talk about [it], but people I meet in press conferences talk about it.”
Klopp rejected the favourites tag.
“But, actually, we are in none of the competitions we play in the favourite, to be honest. I’m not too interested in being the favourite. I don’t need other people to think we will win it definitely, or stuff like this.
“I always wanted to be part of a team who can beat the best in the world. I think we are able to do that. But, for this, you have to win a lot of football games, this will be then really decisive in any kind of final, so [there’s] a long way to go, but the basis is absolutely OK.”
On how tough an opponent Manchester City are to take on, Klopp said:
“If I would be a different person I would be, probably, a little bit depressed about the fact that Pep Guardiola is It’s important that this kind of information, what we gain over the years together, showed us it’s possible. So, we are that close then it is possible to make the next step, then if you do make the next step then there is something really big in it for you. That’s how we grow, or grew, in this group. It’s really nice. It’s really cool. It doesn’t give any kind of guarantees, but it gives you a chance and in life you never need more than a chance. If you have a chance, I really think you should give it a go. That is exactly our situation. There’s no pressure, it’s just opportunity.”
“So, let’s go for it and let’s see where we end up.If I would be a different person I would be, probably, a little bit depressed about the fact that Pep Guardiola is constantly coaching these kind of teams. Maybe in Dortmund we could’ve won more titles if Pep wouldn’t have been at Bayern. Now, it is pretty much the same, imagine if he would not be here, we probably could’ve won at least one more league title. But I am not like this, thank God. So, I am completely happy with our situation.
“I respect a lot what they do, it’s an insane football team. And, for me, the world’s best manager. So, that’s a combination which makes it quite tricky. But, the good news, they are human beings as well. So, we all feel in moments. We do, they do. You have to be strong enough to be there when they are ready to play, let me say, or to be the reason. That’s how it is.
“I couldn’t respect it more what they are doing. I like watching them. I cannot say I love a lot of opponents, or competitors, but I really like watching City. So, always when we play them, the analysis is a mix of serious work and real joy… it’s fantastic football. It’s, like, the next level: where can you go with the football team? They set it up in a special way. They make it really difficult. They make the pitch big in moments. They make the pitch small in the right moments. They have sensational individuals and all these kinds of things. That’s the truth. I cannot hide that. But the good thing is we are not too bad as well. So that helps, obviously, to keep us in a good distance at least.
On what it is like to push City all the way in the Premier League, he said:
“We are a good football team as well, but we are different. I really think that years ago none of these boys ever dreamt, maybe apart from Thiago Alcantara, dreamt years ago already [about] being part of a team who can win all trophies. Not in one year, but in general. Maybe Mo had these dreams, maybe Sadio had these dreams, these kinds of things. But the rest were probably [thinking] winning here and there would be really great.
So, we developed together. I didn’t have these dreams when I was younger, but we developed together. That makes it so enjoyable and makes it so satisfying and great in moments. That doesn’t mean, obviously, you think already big because not getting [or] becoming champions for one point, or 11 inches or whatever how much it was at Burnley, or in our game against City, these kinds of things. It’s not nice, but it shows you are on the right way, you are on the right path. It’s important that this kind of information, what we gain over the years together, showed us it’s possible. So, we are that close then it is.”