Football

Klopp surprised by Liverpool's 20-point lead over Man City

Klopp says Liverpool must have done something right to have such a huge advantage over holders

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp believes Manchester City's stunning form since the English Premier League restart underlines the achievement of his side in building a 20-point gap at the top of the table.

City's 5-0 demolition of Burnley yesterday morning (Singapore time), despite making eight changes from the side that beat Arsenal 3-0 last week, means Liverpool cannot clinch a first league title for 30 years when they host Crystal Palace tomorrow morning.

The Reds could still be crowned champions this week though, should City fail to maintain their impressive form away at Chelsea on Friday morning.

LIVERPOOL CRYSTAL PALACE

"What I realised when I watched the game last night is, how is it possible anybody is 20 points ahead of this team? So we must have done some things pretty well," Klopp said at his pre-match video conference yesterday.

"City are flying again, two games, eight goals is impressive but should not be a surprise. They are a quality side."

Liverpool did not get off to a strong start as they drew 0-0 at Everton on Sunday to drop points for just the third time in the league this season.

The return of Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson from injury should help Klopp's men rediscover their rhythm against Palace, who were the last side to win a league match at Anfield, more than three years ago.

"We are fine with our start. Not overly happy, but it would be cool if we just play our game," added Klopp.

"If we win, all the other teams can do what they want, they cannot catch us. We have to not think too much about it."

Should both Liverpool and City win their next games, then the Reds' next chance to seal the title would come when they face Pep Guardiola's men on July 2.

That match is due to be played at City's Etihad Stadium, but could yet be switched to a neutral venue over fears fans might congregate.

However, given that this was not the case for the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park on Sunday, Klopp believes there should be no problem for the match to go ahead at the Etihad.

CHALLENGE

"I would prefer it is in Manchester. It would be a challenge for both clubs now (to play elsewhere)," he said.

"The whole period showed the massive majority of people behaved responsibly and seriously. The discipline level is probably as high as ever before."

After the City match, Liverpool will face Aston Villa (July 5), Brighton & Hove Albion (July 8) and Burnley (July 11) within a week, posing a challenge for Klopp.

He added: "There will be injuries, 100 per cent, and we all have to make sure the boys are in the best possible shape.

"This now, playing on Sunday, Wednesday, is always a challenge for managers with two days in between. It's a real challenge, it is always like this.

"We have Sunday (Everton), Wednesday (Palace) and then next Thursday (Man City), which I would have preferred to be different but we cannot change that and we take what we get."

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo has admitted he is unsure if winger Adama Traore, who has been linked with Liverpool, will stay at the Molineux next season. - AFP

*Excludes Leicester v Brighton & Spurs v West Ham results.

Football