'Fasten the seatbelts' – Klopp says Liverpool & Man City title race will go down to wire
The Reds are looking to reclaim their place as the outright leaders of the English top flight and the coach is ready for an exciting end to the season
Liverpool should “fasten the seatbelts” and prepare for a “really tough” end to the Premier League title race, Jurgen Klopp says.
The Reds drew with Leicester and West Ham in their last two Premier League games, seeing their four-point lead overturned by reigning champions Manchester City, who pulled level on points with a win over Everton on Wednesday.
Having played a game less than their main rivals for the title, Klopp’s men can reclaim their status as leaders with a positive result against Bournemouth when they meet on Saturday.
As the season approaches its final months, the German coach insists he is not getting nervous after their recent slips and is instead gearing up for a hectic end to the campaign.
“I do not see what they all say they can see in our faces,” Klopp said. “When I talked to the referee after the West Ham game they say: ‘Now he is nervous’. I am not. I knew this would be a really tough race and here we are. Make yourself ready. Fasten the seatbelts and let’s go.”
The former Borussia Dortmund boss instead believes that their poor defending at set-pieces has let them down lately, though he is not worried about the back line.
“In the last three games we conceded three goals from set-pieces,” he said. “Crystal Palace at 2-1, Leicester and West Ham, but I am sure we still have the best record for [defending] set-pieces. Crazy numbers.
“In the early stages of the season, 1-0 up, set-pieces for the opponent were nothing. We were there, focused, physically strong. Now, this happens three times.”
Liverpool have struggled with injuries in defence lately, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren have all been kept out in recent weeks.
But the coach is not using their depleted defensive options as an excuse for the bad results.
“It is never cool if you have to change but the goals we conceded were not because of the changes to the last line,” he added.
“We are not blind to our problems but it’s not as serious as people make it. That’s the truth. There was never a guarantee this season. People always wanted the biggest gap in the world pretty much, 25 points or whatever, but that’s not the reality. The reality is that, if you want to be champions, you have to fight until the last match day. If we want to be part of that tight race, we cannot change that, or offer something else. What is on offer is a tight race until the end of the season.”