Tuesday 22 January 2019

Klopp plays down title advantage talk

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo credit: Dave Howarth/PA Wire
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo credit: Dave Howarth/PA Wire

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes there is no psychological advantage to be gained from being Premier League leaders in November.

The Reds overtook Manchester City the weekend before the international break with a 6-1 demolition of Watford.

Many felt it was a statement of intent for the club to reach top spot for the first time since May 2014, when they were pipped to a long-awaited title by City.

Klopp (pictured), however, takes a much more long-term view of recent events.

"I am pretty sure early in the season the other teams knew already we were not the worst team in the Premier League," he said.

"I shouldn't sound too confident but I have no idea what they (opponents) think and I don't care.

"We try to do our job and we have done it until now and we have to do it in the next few weeks, which will be very intensive. We don't have to think about it, what they do, we have to think about what we do."

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 12 matches so Klopp probably did not want the inconvenience of an international break.

However, he refused to make any excuses about what effect the break may have ahead of today's trip to Southampton, for which Philippe Coutinho is a doubt with a hamstring problem.

"Southampton is the next hurdle to jump over," Klopp added. "Momentum is something you can talk about after the game and then we can say we have to use the momentum again."

Southampton boss Claude Puel has admitted Liverpool are one of the title favourites - but has backed his players to stop their charge.

Puel has overseen a mixed start since taking charge of the south coast club.

An impressive point against Manchester City at the Etihad has been tempered by defeats to Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United but their chances of a result in the City vein have been improved with news of players recovering from injuries, including Ireland striker Shane Long.

"I think all the players are OK and there won't be any surprises. Cedric [Soares] has come back to training, Ryan Bertrand trained yesterday also.

"Shane Long also came back to training but I don't know if they are physically ready to play. We will see."

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