Liverpool could surge 10 points clear of Manchester City on Thursday but Jürgen Klopp is keeping a lid on the excitement at Anfield.
A level-headed Jürgen Klopp insists Liverpool are not allowing themselves to be swept up in the hype surrounding their Premier League title tilt. The leaders take a seven-point advantage over champions Manchester City into tonight's crunch encounter at the Etihad Stadium.
Hope of a first top-flight title since 1990 will soar if they can inflict a fourth league defeat in six matches on Pep Guardiola's men and make it 21 games unbeaten to start the Premier League season. Expectations of silverware might be growing on Merseyside but Klopp is unconcerned by how his players will cope with the fanfare.
Finishing line is a long way off - Klopp
"We don't feel it," the German told talkSPORT. "We know that we are in a good moment, but it's not important. That's how the world is: there are the few who have to work for the dream and the few who only have to dream. We are, for sure, the ones who have to work for it. In no sport in the world do you celebrate before you are past the finish line. We are in a good moment, we know that. Before the season started, the target was to qualify for the Champions League. We are not part of the hype. Sometimes the boys are the reason for it, but we are not part of it."
Liverpool beat their title rivals three times in all competitions last season and have lost just twice in the pair's past 11 competitive meetings - one of those defeats coming via a penalty shoot-out in the 2016 EFL Carabao Cup final.
City still very much a force
Though defeats against Crystal Palace and Leicester City in December removed some of City's aura, Klopp is apprehensive about his team's chances of leaving Manchester with three points.
"No team in the world goes to Manchester City and expects to win. Not Barcelona, not Real Madrid, not Juventus – nobody," he said. "We knew how we had to play to have a chance of winning against City. We never knew the way to beat them. It doesn't mean anything for the next game. It only gives them an extra boost motivation-wise. We have to use our full, complete toolbox. If we do that, we have a chance."