Reds 100% in race: Klopp

Everton's Jordan Pickford getting ready to save a shot from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during their goal-less stalemate on Sunday. The draw was Liverpool's fourth in six games.
Everton's Jordan Pickford getting ready to save a shot from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during their goal-less stalemate on Sunday. The draw was Liverpool's fourth in six games.PHOTO: REUTERS

Liverpool coach not panicking after losing ground to City, dismisses criticism of tactics

LONDON • Another Sunday away game against a local rival, another goal-less draw, and another point that may either play a part in Liverpool winning the Premier League or costing them the title.

A stalemate in the 233rd Merseyside derby at Everton left the Reds one point behind champions Manchester City (71) with nine games to go - meaning that, for the first time since December, the title race is no longer in their hands.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists there is no need to panic despite his team dropping points for the fourth time in six league games.

"The only way you can win something is to stay calm but lively, critical but confident and, in the end, believe in your chance," he said. "I believe 100 per cent in our chance.

"I'm completely fine with chasing. Who wants to be top of the table at the beginning of March?

"It is nice, but there are lots of games to play.

"I watched Match of the Day last night and saw the celebrations of Man City. They had 900 chances and scored one goal, a shot with the wrong foot. You have to be ready for these chances.

"We do not think about City when they are a point behind us, now we are behind them but not too far. They have to win, we have to win and let's see who wins more at the end."

Liverpool had just three shots on target out of 10 attempts, the best two falling to forward Mohamed Salah who was denied first by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and then a perfectly timed interception by Michael Keane.

There is the underlying thought that something has gone wrong with the forward line, that just when Liverpool could have done with a spark of magic to snatch a win from a hard-fought game, the fire has dimmed.

It was generally accepted that Salah could not repeat his scoring feat of last season.

But, after a few weeks when he did touch those heights again, he has scored just once in his last seven games and looked distinctly tentative on Sunday.

"When you see the situation, he is doing everything right," Klopp said of the Egyptian's wasted chances. "He takes his decision a millisecond earlier or later and the defender can jump in.

"We had our moments, but there is no reason for taking it or not taking it, you have to fight against the circumstances, against the opponent, and the boys did that."

He also bristled at the suggestion that he failed to go for the jugular by not bringing on another attacker.

NOT A GAME OF PLAYSTATION

Do you think we didn't take enough risks today? That's a really disappointing question - do you think it's PlayStation?
​Bring an extra attacker, and everything changes?

JURGEN KLOPP, Liverpool manager, dismissing a question on his choice of substitutions against Everton.

In the second half, the German sent on two attack-minded players, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana, plus a midfielder in James Milner. Asked if he should have been more adventurous by bringing on three attackers, he made clear his unhappiness with the query.

"Do you think we didn't take enough risks today? That's a really disappointing question - do you think it's PlayStation?" he said.

"Bring an extra attacker, and everything changes? Football is not like that. We don't lose our nerve."

Klopp, who laughed off an exchange with an Everton ballboy who appeared to mock him with applause towards the end of the game, also pointed to the weather as having an impact on the contest.

"The wind was coming from all directions and did not help anybody," the 51-year-old said. "We didn't score, that happens. It was a difficult game. It was just a fight and we were ready for that fight.

"Now we have a point more than before. All good."

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2019, with the headline 'Reds 100% in race: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe