Klopp: “It’s going to be tough for anyone to catch City”
Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp says nobody will catch Manchester City unless they suffer a dip in form and the teams chasing them can keep winning.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp feels that the Premier League title race isn't completely over but concedes that no team will catch Manchester City unless Guardiola’s men suffer a barren run at some point between now and May. At the weekend Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino effectively said his side could not catch City, who are 13 points clear of them, but Klopp, whose team are one point behind Spurs, says it ain't over until the Fat Lady sings.
We are only concerned about ourselves, says Klopp
Klopp was asked about Liverpool's chances of winning the league in today’s press conference at Melwood: “Do I concede the title race? I see the title race! We’re close enough to see it! I’m not sure”, he replied. “Man City won but in the end it was not as though Huddersfield had no chance of beating them and in the game before that, I think they won 1-0; as long as they win no one else has a chance. If they stop winning and other teams are in a good moment then points-wise it is possible but I don’t care about that right now. Not for us and I don’t know how other teams feel, we are too far away at the moment. We’re just looking to take three points, then another three, then another three. But it if keeps on going like this then, the title is already decided”.
Mané and Firmino to return
Liverpool are aiming to extend their six-match unbeaten run in all competitions at Stoke on Wednesday night, after having won all of their past three visits to Staffordshire. Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino are set to return to the side after being left out of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea in favour of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge, but Klopp believes their replacements proved an important point for his longer-term thinking in their absence.
“We had to make a few changes and it makes absolute sense in this part of the season to use the strength of the squad”, he explained. “'So if you use a few players you have to leave out a few others and that's what we did but it is not completely unlikely they (Mané and Firmino) will start. By the way we don't 'rest', we ‘use’ our players. We thought against Chelsea maybe we needed fresh legs and I thought it worked quite well. It is a very important sign for the squad from my side that I show the faith in all the boys and it was very important for me that the boys showed me they were 100 percent ready”.
New Stoke deal for Crouch
A the Bet365 stadium tomorrow Liverpool will be reunited with former Red Peter Crouch, who penned a one-year contract extention with Stoke on the eve of the game. Manager Mark Hughes is thrilled that Crouch has committed to staying on: “Peter has been with Stoke longer than he has been with any other club which I think speaks volumes for how he views us and how we view him. He still has so much to offer us. He may be 36 but he continues to have a major impact on games, as he has proved on numerous occasions this season.”