Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool remain firm in their belief the Premier League title race is far from over and he would not relish the test that awaits Manchester City at Burnley.
Liverpool can regain top spot on Friday with a home victory against relegated Huddersfield but know the title is in City’s hands following their win in the Manchester derby. Klopp said the enthralling title race “is like Highlander. Only one of us will be there at the end”. And though three more wins guarantee Pep Guardiola’s champions another title, the Liverpool manager believes the indefatigable nature of his team will ensure the fight continues until the final whistle of the final day.
“It was not the last chance before the game. Why should it be the last chance after the game?” said Klopp of the Manchester derby, a game he watched at home with a friend from Dortmund. “If anybody really thought United are capable of hurting City … City are just too good for that. It is not a lie. I watched the game in front of the television and I was not a little bit nervous. I was not like: ‘Oh, my God, why did he do this … Lingard?’
“I don’t like watching these games, because we have nothing to do with them. I like to have the information but that’s all. Everything is still fine and if somebody doesn’t believe any more then I can’t change that now. If you still believe then welcome to my club.
“There are so many examples in life of what could happen if you give up too early, of what it means, of people who would not have survived if they’d given up, that I don’t have to use these examples. You know these examples. It is over when it’s over and not before, and for us it is not over. We just do what we have to do as well as we can do it. Then we will see.”
Klopp is adamant City’s difficult run-in did not end at Old Trafford, because Sunday’s trip to Turf Moor offers another opportunity for the leaders to slip up. He said: “Is Burnley a place I would love to have on the schedule for us now? No, honestly not. It is not a place where you think: ‘Oh nice, we are going to Burnley. Easy points.’ It is a tough place to go and they are in a good momentum, and they are used to that style of play. We don’t have to really think about it. We just have to be focused.”
Liverpool would reach 91 points by beating Huddersfield. No team have hit the 90-point mark and failed to win the title in England’s top flight while 97 points, the maximum still available for them, would be a higher tally than any Premier League champion with the exception of City last season. Klopp insists there will be no cause for regret should Liverpool achieve that remarkable haul and still not win the title.
“We don’t only play to be champions,” he said. “Yes, it’s a main target, and this team is pretty close, but this will be the first time, not the last time. We have to carry on and we will carry on but only one team can be champion. We don’t have to reset the situation, or summarise the season. If we do it, we will do it. If we don’t do it, there are no regrets as long as we give it our best and I saw that all season from the boys.
“Whatever we end up, it is only the first step. We are not finished. We started this season with this team and we will carry on.”
Klopp was asked by a Norwegian journalist what advice he would give Ole Gunnar Solskjær as he begins the formidable task of rebuilding Manchester United. “They didn’t help us, so why should we help them?” he replied. “You have to find your own solutions. It needs time.”