LONDON – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (picture) has said he has banished all thoughts of a dramatic finish to the Premier League season that sees the Reds take the title with a little help from former captain Steven Gerrard.
Reigning champions Manchester City have a one-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the table ahead of Sunday’s final day of the English top-flight campaign.
Liverpool, who are at home to Wolves, need to better the result achieved by City against an Aston Villa side managed by Reds great Gerrard if they are to take the title and stay on course for a remarkable quadruple of major trophies in the one season.
The Premier League was the only winner’s medal missing from former England midfielder Gerrard’s illustrious career at Anfield.
And while Klopp joked Friday he would have liked to see Gerrard still on the pitch, the German insisted he had not given much thought to all of Sunday’s possible scenarios.
“I can understand these kind of situations only by thinking myself in that role,” he said.
“If I would play a game and could help (Borussia) Dortmund or Mainz that would be, for me, an extra motivation — but I don’t play.
“And Stevie doesn’t play. That is a shame, much more of a shame that Stevie is not playing than I am not playing.”
Klopp added: “We are all human beings. Stevie will take it 100 percent serious, I am sure, without me calling him or whatever, I don’t have to — the rest of the club probably already did it but I didn’t.”
The Reds manager cited the performance of Crystal Palace, who went 2-0 up against Everton only to lose 3-2 on Thursday — a result that ensured the top-flight survival of Liverpool’s near neighbours — as proof of footballers’ innate competitiveness.
“A really good example of how motivated football teams are to fulfil their own targets is last night’s game for Crystal Palace,” said Klopp.
“It was such an important game, one of the most important games in Everton’s history, and then Palace show up there and play incredible football and in the end they lost, but the effort they put in, the passion they showed — the whole game from Palace was really good.
“We play to win and Aston Villa play to win. It (Etihad) is a difficult place to go, if you go there and don’t play 100 percent you get five or six (goals scored against you) and if you are fully there you have a chance to get a result.
“But this is the game I am not concerned about, not thinking about, at all. Of all the things we speak about it is completely disrespectful to Wolves as they will do exactly the same.
“They don’t want to come here and be part of our celebrations. They come here and want to get three points, definitely.
“We have to be ready for this game not the other one.”
Regardless of whether Liverpool take a record-equalling 20th English title, they have already won the League Cup and FA Cup ahead of their appearance in next weekend’s Champions League final.
“We have so many reasons to celebrate,” said Klopp. “We don’t know how many reasons but we have already enough reasons.” – AFP