Nearing the home stretch of wall-to-wall Winter matches, Jürgen Klopp spoke to the press today in between the win against Manchester City yesterday and heading to Sunderland and the Stadium of Light tomorrow. It’s not an enviable situation for anyone involved, but the kind of thing squads have no choice but to work through. Winning games, though, is the ultimate goal and the only way we can control closing the six point gap between Liverpool and Chelsea.
“I don’t think about it,” Klopp said, of the current standings and title competition. “We have targets and we are really ambitious, you can’t imagine. You saw it [against City] again. But talking about something doesn’t bring you one point. We have to work. If we see the final line and we are in and around, the pressure will increase, but we had a game like this with big pressure on it. Not because we didn’t want to lose, but because we wanted to win it. That’s really pressure against such a good side.
“They are a really good side; I know there is a lot of criticism in and around, but they [play] some of the best football in the world and you have to defend it. We did it, that’s all. I’m happy about our situation in the table at the moment, but we don’t care who is around.”
Not straying far from the sentiments the boss has conveyed nearly all season, Klopp was adamant that Liverpool are in a good place. With half of the season left to play, and Liverpool’s history of late season runs, it’s easier to remain grounded more than anything else.
“We are much better than last season,” the boss continued. “The position is completely different to when I came here. We are fine. We are where we are and if we could end there – cool. But if we are there five matchdays before the end and [the gap] is only a few points, then we will start really thinking something else. But not in the moment – I’m not like this. I have had much more difficult situations in my life than being second in a very, very difficult league. We are happy about our way; what the rest are doing, we have no influence on.”
Liverpool can only get better (or the other thing that could jinx us) moving forward, but if the season ended today, you have to wonder if anyone would be really happy with finishing second. Thankfully, that’s the beauty of the new year. A whole new half of the season. A whole new run of games to conquer and (hopefully) make Chelsea slip up. Like he said, talking about something doesn’t bring you a point. Happy 2017, Reds.