Mon. Apr 22nd, 2019

Jurgen Klopp issues title race battle cry to Liverpool stars as Man City pile on pressure

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Klopp has issued a rallying cry for his troops to strap themselves in for the long-haul ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Bournemouth.

Liverpool will reclaim top spot from Manchester City, who overtook them on goal difference on Wednesday, if they take at least a point from the Cherries.

However, Klopp has knocked back claims the nerves are getting to him as Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions and title-chasing Tottenham pile on the pressure.

“I knew this would be a really tough race and here we are,” Klopp said. “Make yourself ready. Fasten the seatbelts and let’s go.

“The reality is if you want to be champion you have to fight until the last match day. That is completely normal and what we have to do.

“To be in that fight is very positive – a big achievement – and we have to make sure the people see that again. That is the plan.”

Klopp vented his fury at referee Kevin Friend in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s 1-1 draw with West Ham, which made it successive stalemates for Liverpool.

He claimed Friend favoured the Hammers after the break because he realised Sadio Mane’s opener should have been flagged for offside.

It led to accusations he has lost his nerve in the title race, but Jurgen Klopp said: “For us, I did not see what they all say they can see in our faces. When I talked to the referee after the game they say, ‘Now he is nervous’. I did not think it but I cannot change it. I am not.”

Their last two performances have rightly brought some concern even among their own fans, with the tension clear at Anfield during the 1-1 Premier League draw with Leicester last week.

Klopp has urged his side to fight back and stop talk that they are about to blow their hopes of ending a 29-year wait for a title.

He said: “We are very critical. In the outside world, we can never use any real explanations, because it’s then always used as being an excuse, which we don’t do.

“But internally, we have to talk about why it was a bit more difficult. We still could have performed better. We still should have performed better, especially in the Leicester game.

“We expect ourselves to do better. We expect ourselves to show more passion and all that stuff.

“The thing is that all the people can say what they say at the moment, and it’s predictable that they say that. That’s completely normal.

“But they can say it’s only because we gave them the opportunity with the performances we had. The performances weren’t exactly as we wanted them. That’s what we have to change. And that’s what we are working on.

“We are not blind to our problems, but it’s not as serious as people make it. That’s the truth.

“Obviously it is getting exciting now, eh? It was always clear that would happen.

“We have to show it on the pitch, that we are really ready to fight. The fans have to show that they are as well, if they want to show it.

“We know the job we have to perform at highest level, to fight for every yard, to really dig in and then our crowd is there.”

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