LIVERPOOL

Klopp brushes away title talk but wants Anfield to be a fortress again

Liverpool do not need to be in a title race to be motivated to perform, according to Jurgen Klopp in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

Klopp brushes away title talk but wants Liverpool to make Anfield a fortress again

Jurgen Klopp was bemused to be asked about Liverpool's Premier League title hopes ahead of their clash with Manchester City.

The Reds won the championship last season but sit fourth heading into the weekend, seven points behind leaders City having played a game more.

And City head to Anfield in top form, having won 13 consecutive matches in all competitions - one short of the all-time record for a top-flight English side.

Andy Robertson acknowledged after Liverpool's midweek loss to Brighton and Hove Albion that they were not in a title race "at this moment", an assessment Klopp agrees with, even if he continues to be questioned on their end-of-season hopes.

The manager told a news conference on Friday: "After two years now of getting this question all the time, when we were close enough that it might make some sense...

"I just don't see it in the moment. You have to win football games. If you do that often enough then there's a specific moment in the season when it's clear: okay, now we go for it.

Liverpool not in the same place

"We were in the last two years in that situation, now we are not.

"So why should we think about it? What we have to think about is collecting enough points that it might happen in April, May again. But I don't know yet, so why should we think about it?

"We only think about it because we get asked, but it's not what drives you, it's not what gets you up in the morning or drives us through the day, being so close to City or whoever is top of the table.

"We really try hard in a very, very tricky season. We will try and continue trying, Sunday and the next time."

Klopp will have new signing Ozan Kabak available after he received international clearance, while goalkeeper Alisson - ill against Brighton - is "much better" and injured pair Fabinho and Sadio Mane were set to join at least part of training on Friday.

Back-to-back defeats

The Brighton match saw a second consecutive 1-0 home league defeat inflicted, after a loss to Burnley ended a 68-match unbeaten run at Anfield in the top flight.

Not since 1963 have Liverpool lost three straight home league matches, while they have never gone four without scoring - they also drew a blank in the draw with Manchester United before hosting Burnley.

Klopp insisted he did not need to remind his squad of the inspiring surrounds of Liverpool's home stadium, although he would not divulge details of his team talk regardless.

"It's not that I say now, 'Boys, come on'. Everybody knows it's Anfield," he said. "We love playing there still; it's a great place, the best place you can imagine.

"It's all good, but we didn't win the last two games. But we weren't interested in the 68 in a row, so why should we now make the two games we didn't win bigger than it is?

"I don't think I could sit here when we lost 68 in a row - that would be a real sensation.

"It's all about trying again, about being positive, enjoying football, all these kind of things, and make it a fortress again. That's how it is.

"It will not happen in a press conference with what I say here. I'm not 10 per cent in the mood to speak about anything I would say to my players.

"When I'm with them, I'm 100 per cent. Here is still like paid holiday. I cannot win the game here, I cannot lose the game here, all I have to do is answer questions. That's what I do, but not about what I tell my players."