Jurgen Klopp's frank confession ahead of Liverpool's showdown with Man City
It is a confession that highlights the scale of Liverpool's achievement over the last four years.
When their own manager Jurgen Klopp admits did not believe he could elevate his side to the level Manchester City were at when he arrived in the Premier League but the last four years, it confirms Liverpool have over-achieved.
The Premier League’s top two teams go head-to-head at the Etihad Stadium with just one point separating them heading into the last eight matches of the season.
But a deeper dive into the statistics show that one-point gap also applies to their rivalry since the start of the 2018-19 season, when Liverpool finished runners-up – again by a single point – with a record 97-point tally for second place.
Over 144 matches City have won 108, drawn 14 and lost 22, accruing 338 points. Liverpool have won 104, drawn 25 and lost just 15 times, making their total 337.
“It’s great. I’m surprised about the numbers, to be honest. It’s massive,” said Klopp.
“If somebody would have asked me four years ago – 2018 or whenever – do you think that’s possible and you are that close? I would have said, ‘Ah, not really’.
“They wouldn’t have the points they have if we weren’t there and the same if the other way around. We obviously pushed each other properly, that’s the truth. It’s nice.
“Man City is considered the best football team in the world and they got one point more than us – what does that say? Exactly.
“Obviously we did something right. I know that. I’m happy about that but it would be better if we had 20 points more in that period then we would have one more title or won more silverware.
“It’s all fine how it is. That’s the basis we created, let’s go from there.”
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The fact Sunday’s match has taken on so much significance is due to the way Liverpool have reeled in City, who had a 14-point lead at one stage in January.
Liverpool have won 10 successive Premier League matches, becoming the only club after City to achieve the feat five times.
Klopp was asked whether seeing a 14-point advantage whittled down to just one put more pressure on City, and whether he would feel the same if the roles had been reversed.
“I know it was 14 points but we had two games in hand, one was Leicester and the other Arsenal, although away at Arsenal is not a game where you can count the points directly in,” he added.
“Would I (have felt the pressure)? I don’t know. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been 14 ahead and then all of a sudden only one, I don’t remember.
“I wouldn’t imagine they will feel more under pressure. I can’t answer the question. We are not in the situation, I can’t remember being in that situation.
“It’s not like I think, ‘Ah they’re under more pressure than us’. They play at home, they are calm as ice in most of the games that they play and we have to be as well.
“Our programme is insane obviously. We play City, Benfica, City (in the FA Cup semi-final), (Manchester) United and Everton.
“They will all hope if we win one of the City games that we celebrate for three or four days but we will not.”
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