Jurgen Klopp defended his Liverpool team following their 4-0 defeat to Manchester City – and said the newly crowned Premier League champions would still be targeting their rivals’ records.
It was inevitable that City were going to try and lay down a marker for next season at the Etihad on Thursday night, after Liverpool won the title last week with seven games to spare and a whopping points lead.
And so it proved, as Pep Guardiola’s side raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time through Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden, with an own goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain completing the rout after the break.
City boss Guardiola said afterwards that Liverpool’s players must have “drunk a lot of beer” in the past week – but said he believed the Reds were nevertheless focused on trying to win the game in Manchester.
And Klopp echoed that, saying his team still had City’s Premier League record of 100 points in their sights.
To break that record the champions need 15 points from their remaining six games – starting with the visit of Aston Villa to Anfield on Sunday.
Asked if Thursday’s defeat was a blow to Liverpool’s hopes of setting a new bar, Reds manager Klopp said: “It is, but we cannot force that.
“We didn’t win tonight and now we make sure we’re ready for Villa and the points tally is the result of that work.”
Klopp said his team would use their defeat as motivation going forward, adding: “I am fine with [tonight]. Sometimes you have to accept it. These moments we often use, just not tonight.”
Liverpool are still 20 points ahead of second-placed City – but Klopp insisted that, despite his side’s huge lead, nobody should have been expecting anything but a tough game at the Etihad.
“If anyone thought the quality gap before the game is 23 points, I cannot help these people,” Klopp said, adding that Liverpool had simply been better at winning games than City this season.
“Football is about winning games and we did that [to win the title]. Even games [City] lost they were good.
“We had our situations tonight and we normally score in those but tonight we didn’t. In the very decisive moments they were better tonight.”
The manager insisted that his side’s title celebrations had dampened their desire to beat their rivals, saying: “We want to win football games. I cannot change them after the game.
“If someone said to my team the result didn’t matter, I can’t help that person. Was it perfect tonight? No. It was not so nice but that is all.
“We showed that we can cause them problems, we just didn’t use our [chances].
“All the quality they have they scored on the counter and that is how football can be and if you are not perfect this is not a good place to be. You will be punished.”
City set the Premier League’s best ever points tally of 100 in the 2017/18 season – during which they also scored a record 106 goals.
Liverpool will also have the goals record in their sights, although they are still 36 shy of it.
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