Jurgen Klopp plays down Liverpool’s chances of catching leaders Manchester City despite Luis Diaz’s exhilarating first start in a dominant victory over Leicester fuelling belief there is still mileage left in title duel
Jurgen Klopp insisted it would be foolish to start thinking about a title challenge even though Liverpool chipped into Manchester City’s sizeable lead.
A double from Diogo Jota was enough to sink Leicester and the victory means Liverpool are now nine points the reigning champions with a game in hand – against Leeds at Anfield on February 23; Klopp’s side also face City at the Etihad on April 9.
Liverpool look to be running into form and an exhilarating first start from new signing Luis Diaz has only heightened belief that there is significant mileage left in this duel for the Premier League but Klopp is refusing to look any further than Sunday’s trip to Burnley.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are nine points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand
‘I am not sure we are in a position to put them on our toes,’ said Klopp, who insisted Liverpool had been “deserved” winners.
‘I do not think they smell our breath already but all we try to do is win football games. Even if we have no chance to catch them, we have to win.
‘This football club is massive. It is always the same situation. There is a game we put on the shirts and we have to win it. Doesn’t work out all the time. There is not only Man City to catch; there are a lot of teams behind us who want to catch us.’
Leicester certainly asked questions but Liverpool had an extra class edge and the sight of Diaz surging forward at every possible chance thrilled Klopp; with Sadio Mane only just home from AFCON duty with Senegal, Diaz is likely to retain his place at Turf Moor.
Diogo Jota scored twice for Liverpool as they sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over Leicester
‘That is exactly the impression he made in training so we thought let’s give it a try,’ said Klopp. ‘When we saw him play for Porto we thought that is exactly what we want him to do as well. On top of that he looks a really smart footballer.
‘He looks like a Liverpool player. The situation was made for him to come in. Sadio only came home last night and is probably still in bed. Mo (Salah) after four times playing 120 minutes in the last two weeks, it was clear he would not start. So we gave Luis a go.’
Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, took plenty of encouragement from Leicester’s performance. The result might not have been what he wanted but the approach was significantly better after the inept way his players had folded at Nottingham Forest on Sunday, leaving him to question their attitude.
‘I think we restored some pride in our performance,’ said Rodgers. ‘Sometimes you have to be harsh to clear. It was nowhere near the level on Sunday. It was a tough couple of days and it was a challenge up against tough opponents. But we showed resilience and we have learned lessons.’
Luis Diaz made his first Liverpool start following his January transfer from Porto