The Reds boss says shock defeats to Chelsea and Crystal Palace for the reigning champions were down to bad luck and not pressure applied by his side
Jurgen Klopp does not believe Manchester City are cracking under the pressure of Liverpool’s ferocious pace at the top of the Premier League.
The Reds will celebrate Christmas with a four-point lead over the reigning champions following recent defeats for Pep Guardiola’s side against Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
Both of those reverses came when Liverpool had played earlier that weekend and won against Bournemouth and Wolves respectively.
But Klopp baulked at the idea that City are struggling to respond to his still unbeaten side – pointing to the overall quality of their performances in what he felt were ill-deserved results.
“You saw the two games they played? It didn’t look like they felt a lot of pressure. They were outstanding in these games,” he told a news conference to preview the Boxing Day clash with Newcastle United at Anfield.
“If you don’t finish off your chances against Chelsea you can lose. They were the better team this game
“Crystal Place did an outstanding job and scored outstanding goals. That always makes life uncomfortable.
“It [means] absolutely nothing. It’s difficult to win football games, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.
“They were just a bit unlucky in these two games and this happens from time to time.”
City host Liverpool on January 3 and the gap between Guardiola’s men in second and Tottenham in third is narrower than the one between themselves and Liverpool after Spurs’ resounding 6-2 win at Everton on Sunday.
Klopp thinks Mauricio Pochettino’s team are very much part of the title picture – having never sought to rule them out in the first place.
“You make these stories about who is in, who is out,” he said.
“I saw the game yesterday against Everton and the first goal of Tottenham was obviously a situation Tottenham needed. Everton played more than okay in the first couple of minutes.
“Then they hit everything, it was really impressive how Tottenham did. The same can happen with Chelsea, Arsenal and all those teams. Nobody can feel safe, nobody can feel out of the race or whatever. It’s not a time to think about it.
“It’s just a fantastic football team and I said a few times that Tottenham had the most difficult summer period, and I don’t mean [because of them] not signing players. Eight or nine players played the full World Cup and playing how they have so far this season is more than impressive.
“A lot of teams are in whatever you call the title race and that’s the only difference to last season, when no-one was in at this time [due to City’s dominance]. That’s good for all supporters.”
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Instead of looking too far ahead, Klopp wants his players fully focused for the expected challenge of breaking down a well-manned Newcastle defence under the charge of ex-Reds boss Rafael Benitez.
“The Wolverhampton game was a big challenge for us after winning against Napoli and Man United,” he added, having confirmed defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is back in full training following a foot injury.
“In players’ minds they could drop focus a bit. I was really happy when I saw the attitude for that game as well.
“That’s what we need – stay angry, stay greedy.”