- ‘We have to do even better from now on,’ says manager
• Klopp calls Tottenham’s season ‘more than impressive’
Andy Hunter –the Guardian
Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool will have to improve in the second half of the season to hold off their Premier League rivals and deliver the club’s first championship since 1990.
Liverpool boast a four-point lead at the top of the table having extended their unbeaten start at Wolves on Friday. Klopp’s team have dropped only six points from 18 matches and 48 points at this stage of a season represents the best start in the club’s history. Yet their manager insists that form must be bettered over the coming months given the quality of Liverpool’s fellow title contenders.
Klopp, asked whether the season so far has exceeded his expectations, said: “It can’t, because I don’t have a lot of expectations. I really expect that we do as much as possible to win games. I knew about the potential of my team but I didn’t know how it would all work together. You don’t think about December when you start in June, but of course being unbeaten in the league in December is not something I have had too often. Did I expect that? Not really. Did I think about any defeat when I started in June? Not one.
“We did really well so far and we have to do even better from now on, because you can see all the other teams are doing really well. That’s the challenge for us, to be focused and as successful as possible. In this moment it looks quite positive, but only in this moment – we have to make sure it stays like this.”
Klopp believes the title race will not be confined to a two-way fight between Liverpool and Manchester City, with Tottenham demonstrating their credentials in a 6-2 demolition of Everton on Sunday.
The Liverpool manager added: “I saw the game yesterday against Everton, with the goal that didn’t count and then the first goal of Tottenham was a situation that they needed. Everton played more than OK in the first few minutes, then they hit pretty much everything and it was impressive what Tottenham did. That can happen. To Chelsea, to Arsenal, all of them. No decision is made. Why should it be that somebody feels safe or somebody feels out of the race or whatever? It’s not a time to think about it.
“For me they [Spurs] were never out [of the title race] so why should I be surprised that they are in again? It’s just a fantastic football team. I said a few times that for me Tottenham had the most difficult pre-season, and not due to not signing players because if you have the right team then why should you sign players? But they had eight or nine players who played the full World Cup, and so far their season is more than impressive. A lot of teams are in the title race and that’s how it should be. It’s different to last year when pretty much nobody was in it any more at this time. It’s good for all supporters.”
Klopp confirmed that Trent Alexander-Arnold has returned to full training following a recent foot injury and will be in contention for Newcastle’s visit to Anfield on Boxing Day.