Monday, January 24, 2022

Klopp admires ´flying´ Man City´s 2021 record but refuses to give up on title

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 31 Dec 2021

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reflected with admiration on what Manchester City have achieved in the Premier League in 2021.

Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions sit nine points clear of the Reds, and eight ahead of second-placed Chelsea, heading into the new year after a 10-game winning run in the league to conclude the year.

That victorious streak culminated in a slender 1-0 win for City over Brentford on Wednesday as Guardiola’s side recorded 110 points in the league for the calendar year.

It is the most points any side has won in a year in top-flight history, with their most recent triumph taking them ahead of the 107 that Liverpool won during 1982.

Klopp still harbours hopes of catching City in his pursuit for a second league title with Liverpool, but reflected fondly on the year that Guardiola has produced with the Manchester club.

The Reds are preparing to face fellow contenders Chelsea on Sunday and Klopp believes the winning team can still challenge City.

“City are flying,” he told Sky Sports in an interview published on Friday. “Before the Leicester game, we were in a perfect position, only three points behind City, which, with the season they’ve played, is incredible.

“Our start to this year, 2021, was massively difficult, and to find a way back into your normal performances and maybe improve them was a massive improvement.

“But one of us [Liverpool or Chelsea] can put pressure on City, the winner [of the match] can – the loser, I don’t know. We will see that later on.

“We will not give up just because we lost our game against Leicester. We will try everything, 100 per cent. There are a lot of games to come.

“City didn’t have a proper ‘down’ in 2021. Their 110 points in a calendar year is quite impressive, I have to say!

“But in the end it’s a football game and the only way you can win is if you really want to play it, fancy the challenge, be annoying if necessary, be fluid if possible, play your best football. If you give it a try, you have a chance.”

The past year has hardly been a disaster for Liverpool, who secured Champions League football with a late surge last campaign before embarking on a club-record 34 game scoring run in all competitions that ended against Leicester City last time out.

Klopp appreciates what his side have achieved as they prepare to head in 2022, but believes the Reds can learn from their 1-0 defeat against a Leicester team who have been short of their best form this season.

“Qualifying for the Champions League was for us an absolute highlight with the way we did it, but the year started off with an awful injury crisis – you don’t want to have that on top of all the corona things around,” the German added.

“It was a really tough time. We made it somehow happen and we needed the goal from our goalkeeper [Alisson against West Brom] and that was a massive highlight, no doubt about it.

“A very good pre-season, we played an absolutely OK season so far, that’s absolutely true, but with all the things around it’s just tricky.

“The new normal is better than the other normal in Covid but there’s still space for improvement towards the real normal, I can’t wait for that.

“We have to fight through it. Leicester gave us a good example: however hard it is, if you put a proper shift in there’s a chance. It was pretty inspiring: Let’s give it a go.”

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SoccerNews

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