Liverpool wary of Arsenal ‘title-marker’ talk
LONDON, United Kingdom, (AFP) — Liverpool head into Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against Premier League leaders Arsenal with manager Jurgen Klopp trying to ease the pressure on his side by downplaying the game’s importance in terms of the title race.
The Gunners will arrive at Anfield a point ahead of second-placed Liverpool, with a win for the home side meaning the Merseysiders will be at the summit of the standings at Christmas.
But having seen Liverpool draw away to then leaders Manchester City last month only for the reigning champions to then slip to fourth after winning just one out of four matches, Klopp said now was not the time for worrying about dreams of Premier League glory
“I love it the most when you are first and 55 points ahead because then it’s pure joy. (But) the position we are in is not that bad,” he told reporters on Friday.
“Matchday 18? It means after that we play 20 more games so if we win it we are not through, they win it they are not through even when that is the headlines they will have to deal with.
“Actually, I didn’t really think about it, I am just interested in this game tomorrow and not what it means for the rest of the season.”
The German added: “There might be a moment March or April maybe when you think ‘OK, six-pointer, you win today and you have them out of the way or whatever’, but that is obviously far off and nobody thinks about these kind of things.
“It is just a super-important football game.”
Klopp has been particularly impressed by the way Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has bolstered his squad.
“I thought they looked like that (title challengers) last year to be honest and then some results kicked in,” he said.
“The team we faced (last season) was a super-strong team and then you bring in (Declan) Rice and (Kai) Havertz and it doesn’t make you worse. (David) Raya in goal doesn’t make you worse.
“Mikel could build exactly the team he wants; they are difficult to play, they are a good mix between physicality — big, strong, fast players – good technique, very good organisation, really well coached, well drilled and you see every year they make another step.
“They really have my respect, but we want the points anyway.”