Football: Jurgen Klopp keen to fulfil title vow

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson celebrating with manager Jurgen Klopp after the 4-1 Champions League quarter-final, second-leg win over Porto on Wednesday. The Reds will meet Barcelona next in the semi-finals of the competition. PHOTO: AGENCE F
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson celebrating with manager Jurgen Klopp after the 4-1 Champions League quarter-final, second-leg win over Porto on Wednesday. The Reds will meet Barcelona next in the semi-finals of the competition. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

He believes team are on course to win EPL or Champions League, his 1st title as Reds boss

LONDON • To fulfil his promise of delivering a title to Liverpool inside four years, Jurgen Klopp would have to deliver the Premier League or Champions League trophy this season.

His team have come close thrice to the vow that the German made at his unveiling as Reds manager in October 2015, declaring: "If we sit here in four years, we win one title."

After losing finals in the 2016 League Cup and Europa League, and the 2018 Champions League, many are sensing Klopp will finally meet the deadline, with two golden opportunities for silverware.

Liverpool (85 points), who will take on Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, can retake the Premier League lead from Manchester City (86) with a win at Cardiff today.

Ahead of their trip to Wales, Klopp admitted his four-year promise had been regularly brought up as a topic of discussion of late.

Despite being reluctant to set any more time frames for success, he believes his seven-year deal should be sufficient to complete his restoration job at Anfield as Liverpool seek to return to the top of the perch.

At his pre-match media conference, he said: "It should be enough time. A lot of people have reminded me, when I came here and signed a four-year contract, that (I said) in four years, we probably would have won something.

GETTING THERE

The position we are now in, I am really happy with. Not that it is the final position we want to be, but the awareness from outside of the club of where we are, second time (in a row) in the Champions League semi-finals, that is really special.

JURGEN KLOPP, Liverpool manager, on the progress the club have made this season.

"It didn't happen yet. Both sides, the club and myself, have a wonderful commitment that we really try everything to make the club as successful as possible. How long it will take I have no clue.

"The position we are now in, I am really happy with. Not that it is the final position we want to be, but the awareness from outside of the club of where we are, second time (in a row) in the Champions League semi-finals, that is really special.

"(But) it is not where we want to be at the end. We want to improve."

A trophy will certainly cap his team's improvement this campaign and the Reds boss is confident his team have the stamina to compete on both fronts, with four league games left and two in Europe, which will extend to three, should they make the June 1 final in Madrid.

Declaring his players are "not tired", he said: "We are still in the Champions League and title race. Because of another very strong team (Man City) in the Premier League, we have to win all our games, and the Champions League is like this anyway.

"Nothing has changed since July - we are in it, and now we want to win it. Barcelona? Before then, it is Cardiff and Huddersfield, and that's exactly the same importance to us than the game after that."

With Cardiff aiming to build on last Tuesday's victory over relegation rivals Brighton, Klopp is wary of underestimating the Bluebirds.

Warning his players "to be careful of counter-attacks and each set piece will be a scoring opportunity for Cardiff", the German added: "They are now in a good moment. Lots thought they were done a couple of weeks ago."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 21, 2019, with the headline 'Zklopp Keen to fulfil title vow'. Print Edition | Subscribe