Klopp interested in titles, not records

Roberto Firmino celebrating after scoring Liverpool's first-half winner against Tottenham on Saturday. It was his seventh league goal this season, all coming in away games.
Roberto Firmino celebrating after scoring Liverpool's first-half winner against Tottenham on Saturday. It was his seventh league goal this season, all coming in away games.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

German downplays Reds' latest landmark, remains wary of City who 'will not give up'

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp is unmoved by Liverpool's latest landmark as they hurtle towards a first Premier League title in 30 years, insisting "you don't get anything for best starts apart from numbers".

The Reds won 1-0 at Tottenham on Saturday night, thanks to a first-half winner from Roberto Firmino to give them 61 points from an available 63 so far this season.

No team in any of Europe's top five leagues has taken more points at this stage of a season.

Klopp, however, made it clear that their latest achievement paled when set against what is at stake in terms of the title despite going 16 points clear of Leicester with a game in hand.

He said: "I really try to respond in an appropriate way, but when somebody told me I didn't feel anything.

"It is just not like that. I am in football for 50 years or so and if somebody would have told me that would ever happen, I would probably have said it's not possible.

"Now it happened, I don't feel anything. I don't know exactly what is wrong with me.

"It's obviously very exceptional, but we didn't think for a second about it before the game.

"And after the game, somebody had to remind me about it. It's obviously exceptional but if it stays like this, then I can think about it after five years or so.

"We have a lot tough games to play, the next one is especially tough (at home to Manchester United on Sunday) and we have to make sure we are ready for that.

"When someone gives you a trophy, it is done, but, until then, you need to fight. It is only the start. We need to continue because our contenders are so strong.

 

  • 97%

    Liverpool have won 61 from 63 points available, the best start to a season in English football.

"Pep (Guardiola of Manchester City) will not give up. I will do the same. So far, so really good."

Paying tribute to Firmino, who with his seventh league strike of the campaign maintained his record of scoring only on the road in domestic competition this season, Klopp added: "He is a super player. I don't say this for the first time and will hopefully not say it for the last time."

But despite Klopp's protestations that the title was not yet in the bag, pundit Gary Neville said he could "not see anyone stopping them".

He told Sky Sports: "They are outstanding, brilliant to watch and doing everything a championship-winning team should be doing.

"The records for Klopp are incidental right now. He will never say it, but his team are playing so well, are so in control, and they are still growing and getting better... for Liverpool, it's all about getting that first Premier League title (in 30 years)."

While the Reds are sitting pretty atop the table, the honeymoon period is over for Jose Mourinho after just two wins in their last eight games in all competitions.

Their soft underbelly was again evident after conceding their 20th goal in 13 matches under the Spurs manager, and although he claimed his players "deserved more", he also admitted his injury-hit team was "in a difficult moment".

They have now lost two straight league games for the first time this term and badly missed long-term absentee Harry Kane, with Giovani lo Celso and Son Heung-min both missing gilt-edged chances to equalise.

With Moussa Sissoko also out until April, Spurs have moved for Portugal midfielder Gedson Fernandes, who is set to join on an 18-month loan deal from Benfica.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2020, with the headline 'Klopp interested in titles, not records'. Print Edition | Subscribe