Jurgen Klopp has said that Liverpool must improve on their defending if they are to be able to overhaul Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier League.
The Boxing Day round of games was meant to signal the mid-point of the Premier League season, with Man City currently holding a six point lead at the top of the table, albeit having played a game more than Liverpool.
The reigning champions have been in scintillating form of late, winning their last nine league outings, while scoring four or more in each of their last three, all while not possessing a single recognised striker in their ranks.
Liverpool have equalled Man City’s 50 Premier League goals to date, and have also kept just one fewer than City’s 11 clean sheets to date.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday night’s clash with Leicester on Tuesday night, Jurgen Klopp said he feels that his side need to ‘defend at the top level’ for the remainder of the season if they are to win a record-equalling 20th league title this season.
“I think it’s possible, that’s what we should think because that is why we are here, but it is absolutely difficult,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference. “The consistency the boys show is incredible but that is the only chance you have.
“In a league with probably the best team in the world it is really tricky to be ahead of them. So far, at least, we are not completely out of reach. It is not like we have no chance anymore, but of course, you know City won’t drop a lot of points so you better not drop a lot of points yourself.
“What do we have to do better? First and foremost we have to defend at the top level. On top of that we have improved a lot football-wise: we play some really good stuff and we are more difficult to defend against than we maybe were in the past. Some good steps. Will that be enough? I have no idea. Without being at least as consistent as we have been we have no chance. If we really want to go for a big one then we have to be even more consistent.”
The Reds form this season has been likened to that which saw them end their 30 year title drought in 2019/20, though the German was keen not to draw comparisons.
“I hope I don’t eat my words but we are more stable than we were in the past,” he said. “We have to stay like this, at least. That is the minimum. We have to play flexible football, direct football, creative football, to defend rock solid and to force things as well in games up until the last second. We had periods in games when we were 2-0 up and the opponent came back. The things we don’t do right we have to learn from, and that is what this group always did. It gives some reason to be optimistic but of course opponents are incredibly strong and even when they are not flying they win the games.”