Jurgen Klopp has welcomed any suggestion of an ‘asterisk’ next to Liverpool’s name at the top of the table, as it would represent overcoming the most challenging circumstances.
Liverpool’s tilt at the title came to a grinding halt in March with just six points separating the Reds from their first league title in 30 years.
What followed was a series of unknowns as to when or even if the season would resume, with the boss even conceding he was worried over the calls for the campaign to be declared ‘null and void’ just so the 2020/21 season could start as planned.
When that plan was scuppered many looked to claim that Liverpool’s title would forever be accompanied by an asterisk as they questioned the credibility of a title after lockdown and games behind closed doors.
A stance which seemingly overlooks that Liverpool established a 25-point lead at the top prior to the break, with nine games remaining.
And while having to Google the word ‘asterisk’, Klopp embraced the tag as he acknowledged winning the title in the current climate would represent a triumph “in the most difficult year.”
“Usually I do not pay too much attention to what everyone is saying around us,” Klopp told reporters.
“Now I have had a lot of time to read and I heard a lot and saw a lot. When that came up I had to google the word ‘asterisk’. I only knew the word from the comic [Asterix] before.
“This is the most difficult year and season to become champions. It is an interrupted season like has never happened before.
“Whoever will be champions at the end it will be historical because it is a year that we will never forget because hopefully, it is the only year we ever have like this as human beings and a society because I hope we find solutions for this kind of thing in the future.
“It is historic now more than ever. Give us an asterisk. Yes, do it. Because it is the most difficult season ever and the only difference is there is quite a points gap between us and other teams, but if you saw City playing the other night, saw the team they played and saw the bench they had where they changed five times and there was still no Leroy Sane on the pitch, you think: ‘Wow, that is really impressive.’ That is our opponent.
“That is why when they were having discussions about [ending] the season I felt quite tense during the lockdown. Now it is over and we are here. We worked so hard for this and we do not want to get over the line ‘somehow’.
“We want to play football. Nobody has to tell us we are nearly there. I am not interested in nearly, or in close. I am interested in playing the best football we can play.
“What people outside make of it, I couldn’t care less. But if it will happen and we do become champions then we can tell people it was really difficult and rightly so, and really special. We cannot do a lot of things that we usually can do but in this specific case at least we can say this is really special. That’s why we enjoy the little asterisk there.”
Nail on the head, Jurgen.