The prospect of taking on Manchester City remains a huge one for Liverpool, even without the pressure of a title battle.
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool will experience a familiar rush heading into Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, despite writing off their Premier League title chances.
Klopp bluntly dismissed the possibility that the Reds could challenge for the top flight this term, having already fallen 14 points behind leaders Arsenal and 13 behind champions City.
Liverpool have regularly been City’s closest challengers in recent seasons, taking them to final day twice and winning the title themselves in 2019-20.
Matches between these two teams have made for compelling viewing, with the championship seemingly on the line.
Yet Klopp, while acknowledging his side won’t be celebrating in May, suggests that element of the title could still be relevant this weekend as Liverpool welcome City – “arguably the best football team in the world” – to Anfield.
“It could decide the title this year… just not here,” Klopp said.
“When you play City, results left and right don’t really matter. This game requires all your concentration, it requires all the things you know about football.
“I really enjoy the preparation for the match, but it is the biggest challenge you can face in football.
“Football is about closing down spaces, closing down players, creating challenges in the right areas and things like that. At City it’s always: if you close here, they’re there; if you close the gap, you open up.” The field is so big and we only have 10 players to fill all the gaps.
“It’s always a challenge. It’s not that we feel any different now; it’s a home game, it’s Anfield, it’s us against Man City.”
“They’re definitely the best football team in the world at the moment, that’s for sure. But we’ll try anyway because we know there are no guarantees. We’re getting help from a full Anfield and we’re trying to take advantage of that.” .”
Liverpool came into the match on the back of a 7-1 win over Rangers in the Champions League.
It was an encouraging result and performance for Klopp, but he added a joke to his team’s account after beating Bournemouth 9-0 this season before struggling again.
“It’s helpful if these guys at least still know where the target is,” he said. “We just need to spread the goals a little more into different games.
“We shouldn’t focus on one, then nine, then seven, then zero. We know that.”