Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool and Man City title battle is like the film Highlander
Anfield boss keeps cool in the race to win the Premier League
Liverpool host Huddersfield Town at Anfield on Friday evening and should the Reds beat the Yorkshire side they will leapfrog Manchester City to head back to the top of the table.
It would be the 29th time this season that the lead has changed hands, a Premier League record and proof of the ding-dong battle waged between the pair since August.
There can be only one winner
Not that the pressure appears to be getting to Jurgen Klopp. The Liverpool manager cut a relaxed figure at Thursday’s pre-match press conference, joking with reporters that the fight at the top of the Premier League reminds him of the classic 1980s film, Highlander, in which two immortals battle for supremacy.
“It’s like Highlander, only one of us will be there at the end,” said Klopp. “We have to carry on, and we will carry on, but only one team can be champion.
“I knew that before we started. We want to play the best football we can play every single day. That’s all we are interested in.”
Not just about titles
In an attempt to perhaps ease the pressure on his players, Klopp said the season was more than just about winning the title.
“We don’t only play to be champions,” he added. “Yes, it’s a main target and this team is pretty close in the moment. We still have a chance and we will see what happens.”
Assuming Liverpool beat Huddersfield - who have won only three league games the whole season - the Reds then travel to Newcastle on Saturday 4 May and finish the season by welcoming Wolves to Anfield on 12 May, an awkward fixture given the fine form of the Midland club in recent weeks.
Man City, meanwhile, having beaten Tottenham and Manchester United in the space of four days, travel to Burnley on Sunday, host Leicester City on 6 May and wrap up their campaign in Brighton on 12 May.
City in the driving seat
A point ahead of Liverpool, and with a superior goal difference of eight, City are favourites to retain the title. Judging by the way they brushed aside Man Utd 2-0 at Old Trafford on Wednesday it would be a surprise if they dropped points in the next fortnight.
“It was the result I expected,” Klopp said of the Manchester derby. “United tried whatever they can, in the first half especially. They were a bit unlucky in one or two moments, but over 95 minutes it was clear they can’t stand up to City at the moment.”
One step at a time
Klopp said he was “completely calm” as he watched Wednesday’s game at home with his wife, and he promised that whatever happens in the coming weeks he will consider the season a success.
“Wherever we end up, it is only the first step,” he explained. “We are not finished. We started this year with this team and we will carry on. If we win the league, it’s only the first step. If we don’t, it’s still only the first step.”
Premier League fixtures and TV guide
Friday 26 April
- Liverpool vs. Huddersfield Town (8pm, live on Sky Sports)
Saturday 27 April (3pm unless stated)
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Crystal Palace vs. Everton
- Fulham vs. Cardiff City
- Southampton vs. AFC Bournemouth
- Watford vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Newcastle United (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 28 April
- Leicester City vs. Arsenal (12pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Burnley vs. Manchester City (2.05pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Manchester United vs. Chelsea (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)