Jurgen Klopp has admitted that his side can do no more in this epic title race, and insisted that the champions will be decided by ‘destiny’.
In a title race that has resembled a heavyweight boxing bout with two giants matching each other blow for blow, Liverpool ensured that this most incredible of Premier League title races will go into the 38th and final round with a 3-2 win over Newcastle.
After being knocked down by the mighty Barcelona in midweek, Jurgen Klopp’s side had to peel themselves off the canvas with a not so easy trip to St. James Park, where they would of course come up against their former Champions League winning manager, Rafael Benitez.
Liverpool took the lead through a towering 13th-minute header from newly crowned PFA Player of the Year, Virgil van Dijk, only for Christian Atsu haul the hosts level seven minutes later. Parity would not last long however, as Mohamed Salah restored the visitors’ advantage in the 28th minute, only for Newcastle to draw the Magpies level once again shortly after the break with a tidy volley from Salomon Rondon.
In a game that was starting to have resemblances to the epic Liverpool v Newcastle games in the late 90s, it would be another typically late goal that would settle this one, as substitute Divock Origi flicked in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s excellent delivery with just four minutes of normal time to play.
Asked if he thought things were transpiring against his side before Origi’s winner, Jurgen Klopp actually suggested he was a little nervous after his side went ahead during the eight minutes of added time.
“No. I would have been happy if it was still 2-2 and I saw the injury time, but in that moment we were 3-2 up and I saw the injury time so it was the other way around. Eight minutes…wow! We had a lot of time to play and a lot of time to defend!” he told the media in his post-match press conference.
Speaking about the title race going into next week’s final game, knowing that their fate is totally dependant on Man City‘s results, the relaxed German said that he has accepted that the Premier League champions will be decided by ‘destiny’.
“I accepted long ago that we do everything, absolutely everything, the boys throw whatever they have on the pitch, so that means whether we are champion or not, it is destiny. We do everything and we cannot do more – can you get more than 94 points? Can you get more in all the other stuff? Not really. The boys tried everything, even in the draws, they tried everything to win the games. It is all good.
“We tried to have influence, so it was clear it didn’t happen for a while with set-pieces, that’s true. We didn’t have them, so in this moment we had one and we used it. I really think it was deserved.”
The Reds will be looking to former manager Brendan Rodgers to do them a favour when he takes his Leicester City side to the Etihad on Monday, with anything less than a win for the reigning champions leaving Liverpool in pole position going into the final game of the season.