We don’t give games as Christmas presents, Klopp warns kids

Liverpool’s Neco Williams (left) battles for the ball with Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday. (AP pic)

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned his young fringe players that he will not give them Premier League appearances as “Christmas presents” now that the title is won.

Klopp’s side were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester City on Thursday in their first game since sealing the club’s first title in 30 years – a result that left him in a sour mood.

With six games left and numerous records to chase, Klopp played down suggestion he will give more game time to next generation players like Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott.

“I don’t think these kind of questions will be asked to (Chelsea manager) Frank Lampard, (Manchester United manager) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and stuff like this,” Klopp told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Aston Villa.

“We are champions now and should bring the young boys in, give them a chance? So then we lose the games and everybody is going at us, ‘You have lost focus, you aren’t doing this, you aren’t doing that’.

“We want to win games, the best players have to be on the pitch. If the young boys are part of these best players then they will be on the pitch. They are so close, they are really good, and they are our future. But they will not play now because I want to see them in a Premier League game

“We don’t give Premier League games as Christmas presents.”

Klopp’s side need to win five of their last six games to overhaul Manchester City’s record 100-point haul of two years ago. They are also trying to become the first Premier League team to win all 19 home games in a season.

“We don’t think about next season, we have a lot to go for,” Klopp said.

“We have six games and we felt last night how difficult it is. It’s incredible how we are in this position. We had the desire and greed and we won’t stop.

“If you want to reach something special, you have to be 100% in all these situations. We don’t like to lose 4-0 but we try to use the information from last night.”

Klopp was clearly rattled immediately after the City defeat at any suggestion his side had taken the night off.

He defended them again on Friday.

“Our attitude was brilliant last night, just not focused in four moments,” he said.

“We didn’t lose a lot of games in the last two years but we have lost some and they always feel like defeats do. We always used that for the next games.”