Jürgen Klopp rejected Pep Guardiola’s claim that it was the whole country wants Liverpool to win the title but he insisted the Premier League would be boring without a serious rival to Manchester City.
Guardiola said that “everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everything” and “people want Liverpool to win more than us” in a bizarre outburst after City beat Newcastle 5-0 on Sunday.
Klopp believes the post-match interview illustrated the tension in the Guardiola title race more than any statement of fact, and compared it to his critique of Antonio Conte’s tactics after Tottenham draw 1-1 at Anfield on Saturday.
But Liverpool The manager believes his team deserves wider support to run a true title race and ensure City doesn’t win its fourth league championship in five seasons at a gallop. “Imagine what it would be like if we weren’t so close. Then the interviews would be boring, “Klopp said. “You have to make sure there is a little bit of excitement and that there is an exciting battle to stay in the league and an exciting fight for who will qualify for the Champions League. But imagine we are not closer.
“It [Guardiola’s reaction] is completely normal. We all feel tension, we can’t say we don’t feel it. After the game with Tottenham it’s not like I thought ‘Super’, but before you tackle your emotions, you’ve already faced 20 cameras. That’s what Pep did. I don’t take that as a disobedient compliment. He probably thought he had to point that out. You know much better than I do that this is not the case. “
Liverpool can equalize with City on Tuesday with a win at Aston Villa, although they have played one game more, but Klopp insists Guardiola is mistaken in his opinion that the country wants the title back at Anfield. “I live in Liverpool so, yes, a lot of people here want us to win the league – that’s true,” Klopp said. “But even here it’s probably only 50% because other people [Evertonians] participated in another brawl, at least until yesterday.
“As managers, and I recently had this experience, we are obviously very influenced by the game. I said – and would I do it again? No – but I said after [Tottenham] play: ‘They play like they play and are only fifth.’ It was good at the time, but it was wrong. I could no longer respect Antonio and what he does and how he organizes teams.
“I don’t know exactly what situation Pep was in after being relegated from the Champions League which is obviously hard enough to bear, but then of course Liverpool went to the final and you have these things like: ‘They only played Villarreal, we played Real’, ‘ and then you say what you say. And he is right, above all. I was right about Tottenham. He was right, we just won Premier League once. I have no idea if the whole country supports us. It’s not the feeling I have when we go to other places and play there, it’s actually the opposite, but maybe he knows more about it than I do. ”
Klopp insists Liverpool will not “stop believing” that they can win the league until it is mathematically impossible. He also argued that title challengers should encourage their performance against the Spurs, despite dropping points only for the third time this year.
“It wasn’t a perfect match, but the general approach, the counter press, was on a whole other level,” said the Liverpool manager, who could recall Robert Firmin after an injury at Villa Park. “We are winning and talking about it. ‘Wow, against the Liverpool press.’ We don’t conquer it and just forget it. Not me [forget it] because it sustains us.
“It simply came to our notice then [nothing is broken]. That’s how I saw the game. So let’s move on. That’s the nature of things and it’s with the quality of opponents and goalkeepers and you know we’ve had situations [to win]. If Virg [van Dijk] here it gets the header [forehead] instead of here [points to the side of his face]it’s at least a better chance than hitting the crossbar.
“We didn’t score from the set, but we could because everything was almost perfect. We have to accept that. Now we have to use the good things, erase the bad things and get out of here. ”