Jurgen Klopp has explained his approach to this season’s Premier League title race and admits Liverpool are not thinking about defending their crown right now.
Liverpool lost further ground on the league leaders following a 1-0 home defeat to Brighton in midweek, losing for the second successive time at Anfield after seeing a 68-game unbeaten record ended by Burnley last month.
The club’s title defence has faltered following a succession of injuries to key personnel, with the Reds moving to make late deadline day additions in Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak after seeing each of their three senior centre-backs ruled out for the season.
Liverpool host Manchester City this weekend with the league leaders arriving on Merseyside on the back of a 20-game unbeaten run. Pep Guardiola’s side are currently seven points ahead of the champions having played a game less.
Victory for the visitors would all but end Liverpool’s hopes of retaining the Premier League this season, though Klopp insists his side’s focus remains solely on the next game and not the destination of the title.
“So after two years now getting this question all the time when we were close enough that it might have made some sense, I just don’t see it in the moment. Look, you have to win football games,” Klopp told his pre-match press conference.
“If you do that often enough then there is a specific moment in the season when it’s clear: ‘OK, now we go for it.’ We were, in the last two years, in that situation.
“In the moment we are not so why should we think about it? What we have to think about is to collect enough points that it might happen in April or May again, but I don’t know yet so why should we only think about it?
“We only think about it because we got asked but it’s not important – it’s not what drives you, what gets us up every morning or drives us through the day [that] without being so close to City or whoever is top of the table then we don’t like football or we think it’s not worth working or whatever.
“That’s not the case. We really try hard in a very, very tricky season and we will continue trying 100 per cent – and Sunday the next time.”
Klopp also gave updates on the fitness of key players Alisson, Fabinho and Sadio Mané ahead of Sunday’s match, while Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak could be handed their debuts.