Champs may need 105 pts: Klopp

Mohamed Salah (left, with Virgil van Dijk) jumping for joy after scoring Liverpool's first goal in their 2-0 win over Wolves at Molineux Stadium on Friday.
Mohamed Salah (left, with Virgil van Dijk) jumping for joy after scoring Liverpool's first goal in their 2-0 win over Wolves at Molineux Stadium on Friday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Reds, with 48 pts after beating Wolves 2-0, would need to win 19 of 20 games left

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned his players that they may need as many as 105 points to beat Manchester City to the English Premier League title this season.

City won the title last campaign with a record 100 points, but such has been the pace at the top this term that the German believes even more might be needed this time.

Speaking after the Reds beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 on Friday to ensure they will spend Christmas Day on top of the table, he said: "Everybody asks me about the situation, first in the table and all that stuff and that the last four times a team was first in the table at Christmas they won the league.

"So far it looks like a really special season, 48 points before Christmas is crazy.

"But there are other teams. Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, they will probably win (this weekend), then they will have 40-something points, nobody is dropping points...

"You will probably need 105 to be champions, you don't know. We cannot start a party."

City remained on 44 points after being shocked 3-2 at home by Crystal Palace yesterday.

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    Jurgen Klopp has now defeated all 32 British clubs he has faced as Liverpool manager in all competitions. Before Friday, Wolves were the only side he failed to beat, losing in the FA Cup in January last year in their only previous meeting.

Mohamed Salah's 11th Premier League goal of the season and Virgil van Dijk's first for the club since he scored on his debut against Everton helped to secure a seventh successive league victory.

Liverpool have now played 18 matches and remain the only unbeaten side in the league.

To get to 105 points, they can afford to lose only one of their remaining 20 games and they must also clinch 19 victories.

Klopp was particularly pleased with the professional way in which his team overcame a Wolves side that have a good record (W1 D3 L2) against top-six opponents this season.

"It was very mature," he said. "The heavy rain made things very hard.

"Both goals had nothing to do with the things we did in the game but we were quick in the mind in two set pieces."

Salah's opening goal was brilliantly converted with the outside of his left boot and he also set up the second for van Dijk, who was outstanding at the back for Liverpool.

"He is in a good moment and very important for us and hopefully it can stay like this," said Klopp, when asked about van Dijk's form and influence on the team.

"The work rate in general is outstanding with how we defended. I love the boy but the two in front (Jordan Henderson and Fabinho) have to run a lot more to make it easier for the centre-halves and they did it again."

With van Dijk anchoring the rock-solid defence, Liverpool have conceded only seven times in the league this season - the fewest of all teams.

"I'm more happy that I'm keeping clean sheets with my team and winning games," the Dutchman said on the club website.

"Obviously scoring a goal is a bonus and obviously a very proud moment and hopefully there's more to come, but I'm more focused on winning games."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 23, 2018, with the headline 'Champs may need 105 pts: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe