Our focus not on City, says Klopp

Liverpool's match-winner Xherdan Shaqiri celebrating his second goal against Manchester United with teammate Roberto Firmino at Anfield. It was the Swiss playmaker's fifth league goal of the season.
Liverpool's match-winner Xherdan Shaqiri celebrating his second goal against Manchester United with teammate Roberto Firmino at Anfield. It was the Swiss playmaker's fifth league goal of the season.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp savoured his first league victory over Manchester United and then insisted the Reds were not obsessing over Manchester City, staying solely focused on winning the English title for the first time since 1990.

The Reds' 3-1 Premier League home win against United on Sunday, their first in nine league attempts, sent them back to the summit. Defending champions City had temporarily occupied that position, having defeated Everton on Saturday.

Klopp's men can increase their one-point lead at Wolves on Friday, a day before City host Crystal Palace, and he revealed his side were not distracted by things beyond their control.

"We ignored it (City taking top spot) completely. I didn't mention it one time," he said. "We played tonight against United, and not United and City.

"When we eat and train together, we are not saying, 'Did you see what City did?'.

"We cannot change the results of other teams and we cannot be champions in December.

"There will come a moment in the season where we are still around them, and we start hoping they drop points or whatever.

"We meet them on Jan 3 (in the league) and then we will think about them."

 
 
 

His side made it six successive league victories and extended their unbeaten start to 17 games. Xherdan Shaqiri's late double gave them the three points after Jesse Lingard had cancelled out Sadio Mane's opener.

Klopp said: "A brilliant start, one of the best performances we've had since I'm at Liverpool.

"The first half hour was outstanding. We scored only one but I don't think anyone expected to score four or five times against this United team.

"How we played was just perfect, we tried to pass in the right areas, we played in behind the lines and was just good."

Liverpool's title challenge is being supported by their strength in depth. Shaqiri's influence from the substitutes' bench was critical following Divock Origi's late winner against Everton in their previous home league game.

Shaqiri scored within three minutes, again seven minutes later, made 17 passes and created another chance. But the Swiss needed two deflections, off Ashley Young and Eric Bailly, to take his tally to five league goals for the term.

"I cannot keep players happy. You are happy or not happy, you understand it or you don't understand it," Klopp said of rotating his squad.

"I think the boys understand it. That's how it is."

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2018, with the headline 'Our focus not on City, says Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe