Football: Klopp urges Reds to develop tunnel vision

Jurgen Klopp is well aware the coming week could define their season with a tricky test against Arsenal at home tomorrow followed by a trip to face champions Manchester City at the Etihad next Thursday.
Jurgen Klopp is well aware the coming week could define their season with a tricky test against Arsenal at home tomorrow followed by a trip to face champions Manchester City at the Etihad next Thursday.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Liverpool have a six-point cushion at the top of the Premier League table and are riding the crest of a wave after an eight-game winning streak, but that "means nothing" to Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds, who are enjoying their best start to a league season and are the league's only undefeated team this term, are aiming to make it third time lucky in their bid to win their first title since 1990.

Liverpool have twice been leaders at Christmas, in the 2008-09 and the 2013-14 seasons, but slipped up both times after the halfway stage of the league campaign.

The manager is well aware the coming week could define their season with a tricky test against Arsenal at home tomorrow followed by a trip to face champions Manchester City at the Etihad next Thursday.

Despite City falling seven points adrift after a third defeat in four league matches, Klopp feels the job is far from done as his side "want to create their own history".

He told Sky Sports: "We play Arsenal and City. Good that we have six points more than other teams (Tottenham are second), but that is what we wanted to do all the time, create a basis for the rest of the season. Now the first part is over.

"It is the first Liverpool team in the Premier League unbeaten (at this point of the season), we conceded seven goals, that is good. Numbers good, good situation, but 19 games to go."

Anfield was a cauldron of noise towards the end of their 4-0 victory over Newcastle on Wednesday as it became clear that City had lost 2-1 at Leicester.

But Klopp urged his side to maintain their "tunnel vision", claiming other results had no bearing on their title challenge.

"I'm naive," he said. "When I heard the cheers, I thought, 'That's nice'. I didn't realise it was for another result. Obviously, nobody told our crowd Tottenham won 5-0.

"I had no idea how any other teams were playing, I didn't even know where they were playing so afterwards, I got the results and I can say it didn't do a lot with me.

"We have to win our games, we have to be focused, we need to be really in the mood. Then we will see where it leads us."

While it was an afternoon to forget for Rafael Benitez at his old stomping ground, the Newcastle boss feels his former team are "good enough" to win the league, calling the Reds "a very good team".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2018, with the headline 'Reds need tunnel vision: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe