Liverpool have made a poor start to their Premier League campaign and their search for a much-needed win is not about to get any easier, as they host Manchester City next.
Jurgen Klopp admitted that Liverpool are a long way off Manchester City ahead of the two rivals’ meeting at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds have endured a stuttering start to the season and sit in 10th in the Premier League, winning just two of their opening eight games. Klopp’s side haven’t recorded a victory in the top flight since August, but Wednesday’s morale-boosting 7-1 win over Rangers in the Champions League gives them some much-needed confidence.
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s men are second in the table and boast the only unbeaten record in the Premier League, having won seven of their first nine matches. Arsenal are the only side to have recorded more points, with the Gunners flying at the top of the division.
Klopp is aware of the challenge that awaits his side, having already played City three times this calendar year – in the FA Cup, Premier League and Community Shield. Interestingly, Liverpool are unbeaten in those encounters, defeating the Sky Blues on the eve of the season at the King Power Stadium back in July.
Klopp said: “Look, when you play City, results left and right are not really important because this game requires all your focus, requires all the things you know about football. It’s everything.
“I said it a couple of times, I enjoy preparing the game really but it’s anyway the biggest challenge you can face in football. Football is all about closing down spaces, closing down players, having challenges in the right areas, these kind of things.
“And with City, it’s always if you close them down here, then they are there and if you close that gap, you open up that gap – because the pitch is so big and we only have 10 players to close all the gap. So, always a challenge.
What I want to say with that, it’s not that we now feel different or whatever. It’s a home game, it’s Anfield, it’s us against Man City. Yes, they are in the moment, definitely, the best football team in the world, that’s how it is, but we will give it a try anyway, knowing there are no guarantees. But we know we get help from a full Anfield and we try to use that.”
Many pundits and supporters have ruled Liverpool out of the title race, while others insist the Reds are still capable of closing the gap. A win for City this weekend would already put them 16 points clear of Klopp’s men – a huge gulf given three-quarters of the season remains.
When asked about how this game is usually a title decider, Klopp confessed: “It could be again this year, but not with us!”