Football: Klopp not giving up hope of Premier League title

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp hugging Sadio Mane, who saw action only in the 89th minute, after the 1-1 Premier League draw against Chelsea at Anfield on Nov 25, 2017. But he and Roberto Firmino are set to start against Stoke. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is refusing to admit his side are out of the running for the Premier League title but admits nobody will catch Manchester City unless they suffer a dip in form.

At the weekend Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino effectively said his side could not catch City, who are 13 points ahead of his side, but Klopp, whose team are a point behind Spurs, would not follow suit.

"We are close enough to see it (the title race)," Klopp said at Liverpool's Melwood training ground on Tuesday (Nov 28).

"They won (against Huddersfield) and as long as they win no one else has a chance. If they stop winning and our team is then in a good moment then it is possible you can still get them.

"We want to have the next three (points) and then the next three and then the next three because if anyone struggles we need to be there.

"But for us at the moment they (City) are too far above us and if they keep on going like this no one has a chance and it is already decided."

Liverpool will look to extend their six-match unbeaten run in all competitions at Stoke City on Wednesday, where they have won on their past three visits.

Key men Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are set to return to the side after being left out of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea in favour of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge, but Klopp believes their replacements proved an important point for his longer-term thinking in their absence.

"We had to make a few changes and it makes absolute sense in this part of the season to use the strength of the squad," added the German, who also has midfielder Emre Can fit again and will make a late decision on whether Dejan Lovren can return to the squad.

"So, if you use a few players you have to leave out a few others and that's what we did but it is not completely unlikely they (Mane and Firmino) will start.

"By the way we don't 'rest', we use our players. We thought against Chelsea maybe we needed fresh legs and I thought it worked quite well.

"It is a very important sign for the squad from my side that I show the faith in all the boys and it was very important for me that the boys showed me they were 100 per cent ready."

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