Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp kept his composure despite Manchester City’s defeat against Tottenham last weekend, insisting the Premier League title picture has not changed for the Reds.
City stumbled to a 3-2 defeat following Harry Kane’s double on Saturday and Liverpool’s earlier win over Norwich meant they closed the gap on the league leaders to six points.
They could halve that deficit with victory over Leeds in their game in hand on Wednesday but Klopp’s belief that City will win all of their remaining fixtures means their slip-up has not altered his thinking on the title race.
Klopp said: “I was on the way home when it was 2-1 to Tottenham and didn’t follow it anymore because I was sure they would equalise. Then we went out and the driver was very excited and told me that it was 2-2 and then 3-2, I thought City won but it was Tottenham, so ‘ohh’ was my reaction.
“Nothing changes for us, we have to win all our games. I think you can expect that (Manchester City will win all their games). Historically it happens more often than not.
“We have so many games to play and, yes, if we could win them all it’s a title race. If not then it’s maybe not a title race.
“There are so many things that can happen in football. I cannot – I’m just not made for it – count points on our account before we’ve played the game. If other people do that, that’s OK because they are not directly involved.
“That’s why we have to be 100 per cent focused on just this one game because we cannot win the game and the league and everything in one game. We just have to try to make sure we win a very difficult Premier League game.”
Leeds may have taken just one point from their last four matches and have been drawn into the fight for survival as they are now just five points above the relegation zone, but Klopp is wary of the threat they pose.
Earlier this month, they came from 3-1 down to claim a point after a 3-3 draw at Aston Villa and while they were beaten 4-2 at home by Manchester United, Leeds gave their rivals a major scare in the driving rain at Elland Road.
They hit back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 within one frenetic minute before United pulled away, and Klopp is well aware of what Leeds are capable of after their last visit to Anfield ended in a 4-3 defeat on the opening day of the 2020-21 campaign.
Klopp said: “Leeds are very brave and exciting offensively. Defensively you can cause them problems but it’s difficult because of the man marking all over the pitch, if you’re not really in the game then they will eat you.
“They are missing a few decisive players: Patrick Bamford, (Kalvin) Phillips and (Liam) Cooper is pretty much their spine, and I know how much this can hurt you as a team if you lose these very decisive players.
“But they never give up. We really have to make sure we are 100 per cent spot on. If we are not ready for a fight, we will suffer.”
Klopp confirmed Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota will be absent for the visit of Marcelo Bielsa’s side because of injury and the forward pair face a race against time to be fit for the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday.
Klopp added: “They were not on the pitch for training so that’s not a good sign. We have to see what we can do with the boys in the next few days and we will make a decision later in the week.”
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