WOLVERHAMPTON: Pundits have already handed the Premier League title to Liverpool. Their own fans are singing: “Now they’re going to believe us!”. And the Reds’ latest win, 2-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday, put them a massive 16 points clear.
But manager Jurgen Klopp is having none of it.
“I don’t think about it (winning the title). I just think about winning the next matches … let’s carry on,” he said after Liverpool’s 22nd victory in 23 league games this season.
“It’s over when it’s over, not before,” added Klopp, saying he had forgotten during the week how many points Liverpool were on and was now purely focused in their next games at Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup and West Ham United in the Premier League.
Klopp praised Wolves’ fight and spoke of the need for his charges to keep improving, despite their lofty status.
“Wolves are doing so unbelievably well, so different to everything else you face. How (manager) Nuno (Espirito Santo) sets it up, it’s really good,” he said in admiration of a team who have been taking big scalps at their Molineux fortress.
Klopp was frustrated at Liverpool’s fluffed chances, as Mohamed Salah had a rare off day with his finishing.
“The chances we had were incredible. We were at least four or five times in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, so if we score then it is game over,” he said of missed opportunities after Liverpool went 1-0 up before being pegged back.
Roberto Firmino won it for the Reds with a late strike from inside the box. “It was a super, super, super goal from Bobby. I’m really, really pleased as you can imagine,” said Klopp.
As for Jordan Henderson’s early goal, off his shoulder from a corner, Klopp was delighted with his captain’s evolution.
“I’m not sure since when Hendo is involved in offensive set-pieces, usually for most of the time he was protection, so now we have found a way to involve him as well, and that he scores that goal is obviously incredible,” said the German coach.
“He played an unbelievable game again tonight … he keeps everyone on their toes … we couldn’t be in this situation without these sorts of characters.”
While the players were all in “outstanding shape”, there was still plenty to improve all round, the demanding Klopp added.
Henderson echoed his manager’s view on the title race.
“You’re probably bored of me keeping saying it, but it’s just about the next game, I want to keep going,” he said.
“Every game is the biggest game of the season as the manager keeps saying to us. We just want to keep going, give everything like we always do and keep building on what we’ve achieved so far.”