Tuesday 21 January 2020

Klopp: I expect battle with City to go to the wire

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expects to go toe-to-toe with Manchester City until the bitter end of the title race irrespective of who has the advantage in the fixture schedule.

This week, for the first time since December 15 when Pep Guardiola’s side beat Everton and the Reds defeated Manchester United the following day, City play a league match before their rivals.

That will continue for the next two matches with City hosting Arsenal on Sunday - while Liverpool go to West Ham the following day - and also playing a rearranged game at Everton next Wednesday.

“For me, no difference. If we win the game, we are not interested in other results. How can we change the approach?” he said ahead of tonight’s visit of Leicester.

“I said it a few times, I expect City to win every game. It makes sense that you think like this. I expect City to beat Newcastle but I will still watch it because we play Newcastle as well.

“I can only speak for myself, but I don’t sit in front of the TV and think (damn) when they score or whatever.

“I really believe that you have to do your own work, your own job if you want to have something.

“Don’t be concentrated on other teams, it doesn’t help. I expect to be one point up before the game tomorrow, and that doesn’t bother me.”

Klopp is hopeful key defender Virgil Van Dijk will be fit enough to face the Foxes. The centre-back has been ill since the club returned from a training camp in Dubai last week but was back on the pitch with the squad at Melwood yesterday.

He has not missed a Premier League match since Huddersfield away a year ago and has been on the pitch for all-but 35 minutes of league action this season, having been forced off with a rib injury against Southampton earlier in the campaign.

The Holland international has been credited with the side’s vastly-improved defensive record (just 13 goals conceded is the best in the league).

“Virg was a little bit ill but he trained yesterday. He will train today and then we will see,” said the Reds boss.

Klopp has an issue at right-back with James Milner serving a one-match suspension and Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee) and Joe Gomez (leg) still not fit.

His options appear to be midfielder Fabinho, who plays in that position for Brazil but only returned to training yesterday after illness, and youngster Rafael Camacho.

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