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PREMIER LEAGUE

Klopp committed as Liverpool aim to close gap on Manchester City

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool tripped up at West Ham earlier this season, but they have a remarkable track record at Anfield against the Hammers.

Update:
Klopp committed as Liverpool aim to close gap on Manchester City
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Jürgen Klopp rejected suggestions that he is thinking about a future away from Liverpool as he spoke of the limitless potential of his title-chasing team. The Reds manager said in a television interview in midweek that he was unsure what the coming years held for him, with his current contract due to expire at the end of the 2023-24 season.

Klopp's Liverpool have the chance to move to within three points of Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday, providing they beat West Ham at Anfield. That is far from a given, seeing as West Ham won 3-2 at the London Stadium when the teams met in November. But Klopp is relishing another title challenge, having already snagged a trophy this season thanks to last weekend's EFL Carabao Cup triumph over Chelsea.

Asked about his future, with reference to his previous comments, Klopp said on Friday: "The plan is still the same. Nothing changed really."

Klopp looking at long-term picture

He spoke passionately about the quality Liverpool have coursing through their squad, but said that was not in his thinking in the sense of what may lie ahead for him. "If I decide to leave, or maybe I get the sack in '23, who knows, or if I decide in '24, it's nothing to do with the quality of the squad," Klopp said. "All the things we do are for the long term. This club must be even better, especially when I'm not here anymore."

The former Borussia Dortmund coach already has Champions League and Premier League trophy success behind him at Liverpool, and the scope of his achievement remains a matter of obvious pride. Again it is City who Liverpool are battling with for league supremacy, and the strength of the team from Manchester means this current mighty Reds set-up could finish up with fewer titles than some would consider their talent deserves.

"Imagine City would not be there and how many more trophies we would have won," Klopp said. "But they are here, it's no problem. We really push each other on really high levels. We don't set ourselves a limit – why should we? – but it's really difficult. It's always a question of perspective: I don't think it's right [to say] we didn't win enough so far, but we can always think here or there we could have won more, and we were unlucky in moments."

West Ham's previous visits to Anfield

Liverpool have an outstanding home record against Saturday's visitors, having lost just one of their last 48 league games against the Hammers at Anfield. That was a 3-0 defeat in August 2015, before Klopp came in to replace Brendan Rodgers.

The away defeat this season was Liverpool's first league defeat to West Ham since being beaten home and away by Slaven Bilic's team in that 2015-16 campaign. In the previous 10 league games between the sides, West Ham had picked up just two points. The Reds lost both of their home league games in March last season, going down 1-0 on each occasion to Chelsea and Fulham, but they were mired in crisis then, a far cry from the situation now as they defend an unbeaten 17-game home league record (W13 D4), having won their last eight in the competition at Anfield by a 26-2 aggregate score.

Klopp taking no notice of media hysteria

Chasing down City is a task Klopp wants to take game by game, and he admits to being befuddled by media hype.

"I enjoy the situation we're in," he admitted. "I don't enjoy but I understand the questions about it, because it's considered we won the games already. I really want to win tomorrow, really, but if we lose you will sit here tomorrow and tell me the title race is over now, and I don't have enough capacity for all these different scenarios. I can't think about what we can win at the end. I'm barely smart enough to find enough concentration for one game and not the general situation. We're not in the worst moment but there's so many challenges ahead of us. I don't feel in a chasing mood, but I just hope we are ready tomorrow to face West Ham in a better way than we did when we played them there. We want to be as successful as somehow possible. We want to use the situation the club gave us with this great group of players and good coaches. Each club might have a different identity. Our since we've been together is intensity, and that's what we have to show every match day. That's what we expect from ourselves. That doesn't mean you're always on your top, but it means you have to try it at least with all you have and that's what we do."

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