Jurgen Klopp has questioned why Liverpool would stop believing they can win the Premier League title and dismissed Pep Guardiola’s claim that the entire country wants the Reds to be crowned champions.
Manchester City moved three points clear at the top of the table with three games to play by thrashing Newcastle United 5-0 on Sunday after Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham.
A visibly angered Klopp heaped criticism on the defensive style of football Antonio Conte employed at Anfield and Guardiola also delivered a notable post-match interview the following day.
The City boss suggested “everyone in this country supports Liverpool” in a thrilling title race.
However, Klopp explained Guardiola may have been talking in the heat of the moment after the game, as was the case following the Tottenham stalemate when Klopp suggested he could not coach like Conte.
“I live in Liverpool, here a lot of people want us to win the league but even here it is only 50 per cent,” he told a pre-match news conference ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Aston Villa.
“As managers, after a game, we’re obviously massively influenced by games and situations. What I said after Spurs [the criticism of Conte], I wouldn’t say it again.
“I said: ‘they play like they play and are still only fifth’, but that was just my feeling at the moment and I couldn’t respect Antonio more.
“I don’t know how Pep reacted after getting knocked out of the Champions League and of course, Liverpool made it to the final, we played Villarreal, they played Real Madrid.
“I have no idea if the whole country is supporting us, it is not the feeling when we go and play around the country. Maybe he knows more than me.”
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Liverpool are also four goals behind City on goal difference and Klopp says they must beat Villa, Southampton and Wolves to have any chance of dethroning City.
“It’s easy to describe our situation. We drew, they won, the goal difference too. We can decide for ourselves how we see it. There are some facts but I try to help the boys see it like me,” he added.
“I am not sure I said [the title race is still on] because it is obvious. We both have three to play, my concern is how can we win our games. We shouldn’t add on points before games are played.
“Why should we stop believing? The perfect situation would be we were nine points clear, 30-plus goals but it’s not possible, so let’s go from here.
“Whatever happens tomorrow night if we win, it helps. If not, we train for the FA Cup final [against Chelsea on Saturday].
“Ideal world, we win them all. We have to respond. The only chance to win is to win all the games.”
Klopp is looking forward to seeing how Liverpool respond after coming up against a well-organised Spurs side at the weekend.
“Having another game is cool but it’s not that we have to overcome something,” he continued. “When I said about it being a funeral, I meant the press conference, not the players.
“A draw was a normal result, especially against Spurs. We played a good game against a well-organised team.
“It’s not possible to be perfect due to the part of the season we are in now. We have to keep going.”
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