Jurgen Klopp has admitted he feared Liverpool would be denied the title when talk of a ‘null and void’ campaign emerged, but now he is ready for “hard work” again.
The Reds were sitting 25 points clear when the season was drawn to a halt in March, and with just nine games left to play the state of 2019/20 was called into question.
For a period, it was debated whether the fixture list could be played out—despite the obvious incentive in completing the current campaign before starting a new one—with some parties calling to void the league.
That was ruled out relatively early, however, and now Liverpool head into the weekend preparing for a trip to Everton on Sunday night.
But speaking in his first press conference back, Klopp revealed that he was genuinely worried that the Reds’ 82-point run would be wiped out for the sake of starting 2020/21 in a timely fashion.
“When we went into lockdown, I didn’t think for a second ‘oh my god, that’s now our season [over], when we are so close’,” he told reporters.
“Not for a second, because it was not important in that moment.
“I became worried in the moment when people started talking about voiding the season. I was like ‘wow’. And I really felt it physically, that would have been really, really, really hard.
“We don’t expect to get it as a present, so we didn’t want to have it on a points-per-game thing. We were really happy when it was decided that we can play again.
“But there were moments. You know how long the discussions were, some people brought it up from time to time for different reasons.
“When that was off the table, I felt quite relieved. Now we are here.
“If they had done the points per game and we couldn’t have played, we probably would be champions now, so now we aren’t, we have to play for it.
“That’s great, that’s how it should be in sports, and now we go for it.
“We don’t think in our minds that we are now already nearly there or whatever. We know the situation in the table, but we saw City playing, we saw all the other teams.
“We needed a lot of work to come to where we are in this season, but we needed luck as well, that’s how it always is.
“So that’s what we need again, because it will be tough, the toughest, in the next few weeks.
“I hope I can enjoy it, because that’s the plan actually. Hard work was never the problem for us, but we need to make sure that we really play the best football that we are able to play again, and then we will be fine.
“And we’ll see what we have to celebrate and how we can celebrate, but these things are only important in the moment when it has then finally happened and not before.”