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Jurgen Klopp embracing “perfect” title challenge against Man City

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists his players are used to the challenge of trying to keep pace with Manchester City and do not find it mentally draining.

By the time his side kick-off against second-placed Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday they could be 12 points behind the Premier League leaders and defending champions – albeit with two games in hand.

The last two Covid-impacted seasons has seen the Reds and City both win a title each by a large gap, but the need to be almost perfect every campaign has not gone away since 2018-19 when Liverpool earned 97 points but finished second to Pep Guardiola’s side.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists his players are used to the challenge of trying to keep pace with Manchester City and do not find it mentally draining.

By the time his side kick-off against second-placed Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday they could be 12 points behind the Premier League leaders and defending champions – albeit with two games in hand.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 3, 2021: Manchester City's manager Josep 'Pep' Guardiola shakes hands with Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The last two Covid-impacted seasons has seen the Reds and City both win a title each by a large gap, but the need to be almost perfect every campaign has not gone away since 2018-19 when Liverpool earned 97 points but finished second to Pep Guardiola’s side.

“If you are not perfect yourselves you have to hope that City is not perfect and that’s pretty much like a passive role which I don’t like much.

“You can see already it is getting much more exciting for you (the media). Not for us but obviously for the outside world.

“We are here together at the training ground so we can put our own focus to it, allow ourselves to stay positive, allow ourselves to look forward to the next football game and deal with all the difficulties we face over a day, which is quite challenging.”

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 28, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino applauds the travelling supporters after the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Leicester City won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chelsea started December top of the table with a one-point lead over City but an indifferent month, including a defeat and three draws, has seen them fall eight points behind having played the same number of games.

The defending European champions have struggled to hit top form for some time but Klopp does not think that makes them less of a threat.

“I don’t think for one second this season Chelsea have lacked motivation,” he added.

“At the moment it looks a bit different but squad-wise the team they can line up is always so good but the amount of games you have to play when you don’t have your full squad is really tricky.

“So the problem is not the motivation – not for us and not for Chelsea. I’m pretty sure that the problem we (both) have is the quality of City.

“We have now a couple of years when we could really catch up with them, when we were nearly there and then we were there, so for us we understand how big that was.”

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