Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool will remain “in the neck” of Manchester City whatever happens in Sunday’s Premier League finale and are under no pressure because they have nothing to lose.
Liverpool must beat Wolves and hope City fail to overcome Aston Villa on the final day of the season to pip Pep Guardiola’s side to the title. The situation is identical to the end of the 2018-19 season, when Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0 at Anfield but missed out on the championship by a single point after City’s 4-1 win at Brighton. Klopp’s team responded by winning the Champions League final three weeks later.
Even in the event of a repeat on Sunday, the Liverpool manager insists his team will not stop making life uncomfortable for their main Premier League rivals. “After that game [Wolves in 2019] I was fine with the situation,” said Klopp. “I remember walking on the lap of honour next to Trent [Alexander-Arnold]. We both had a smile on our faces because it was a great season. And whatever happens on Sunday, I will not forget that it has been an absolutely fantastic season.
“The biggest defeats in my life have led to the biggest successes in my life, wherever I was. Whether it was Mainz or whatever, it’s a little bit like this. Even if we don’t win the Champions League final, I learned at Mainz when we didn’t get promoted and we arrived back and thought it’d be really sad but we had 20,000 people waiting for us. We had to go on stage the day after we lost our dream of going to the Bundesliga. That was the moment we realised it was OK and if they think it was fine then we can go from here. The response [of fans] is really important and whatever happens on Sunday we will not stop. We will not stop trying. Yes, we have the best opponent in world football, which is a bit of a shame, but they have us in their neck, which is not too cool as well. So let’s see.”
Klopp insisted his squad did not feel the pressure of chasing part three of a possible quadruple because, unlike City, the Premier League title is not in their hands. “I cannot talk about pressure for the other team but, for us, there is no pressure,” he said. “We know that we have to win the football game but we’ve had that now for a while. If you have something to lose it feels different, but we don’t have that.”
Klopp does not buy the romantic notion that the Liverpool legend and Villa manager Steven Gerrard can be a decisive factor in his old club winning the title. “If I would play a game and could help Dortmund or Mainz that would be, for me, an extra motivation – but I don’t play,” he said. “And Stevie doesn’t play. That is a shame, much more of a shame that Stevie is not playing than I am not playing. Stevie will take it 100% serious, without me calling him or whatever. The rest of the club probably already did it but I didn’t.
“A really good example of how motivated football teams are to fulfil their own targets is last night’s game for Crystal Palace. It was such an important game, one of the most important games in Everton’s history, and then Palace show up and play incredible football. They lost, but the whole game from Palace was really good. Congratulations by the way to Everton for staying in the league.”
Klopp confirmed Divock Origi would be leaving the club when his contract expires this summer. The Anfield cult hero has agreed a move to Milan.
“I think it’s only Div, right?” he said of the guaranteed farewells at Anfield on Sunday. “I expect Div to get a special reception. He is, and will be for me, forever a Liverpool legend, one of the most important players I ever had. That might sound strange with the amount of games he had but it was a pure joy to work together. It is not over yet.”