Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s visit to Manchester City on Saturday is important for both sides even though a traditionally crucial fixture no longer features the Premier League’s two preeminent forces.
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While second-placed City aim to hunt down leaders Arsenal in their pursuit of a fifth title in six seasons, sixth-placed Liverpool are merely hoping to climb into the top four after a troubled and trophy-less season.
However, Liverpool boss Klopp remains adamant a game usually vital to the destiny of the title for both clubs still retains major significance for his team, as well as City.
“Super important game, that’s the one thing that’s not different to all the other years because obviously for us super important, for City super important,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
Liverpool’s trip to the Etihad begins a daunting week for Klopp’s men as they travel to Chelsea on Tuesday and then host league leaders Arsenal at Anfield next Sunday.
Liverpool are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham, but with two games in hand on the north Londoners.
“Top four is the one thing we really can go for. We don’t have a perfect position to go there, to fight for it, but it’s possible,” added Klopp.
“We have to win a lot of games but the more games we win, the more pressure we can make on other teams above us in the table.
“A lot of talk now, but in the end it is all about how we perform, how we get into this mood –- a chasing mood –- and go from there.”
Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over City in October provided false optimism that Klopp’s men could match the levels that saw them come close to an unprecedented quadruple last season.
Another misleading result came earlier this month when Manchester United suffered a historic 7-0 thrashing at Anfield.
Liverpool have lost their two games since, suffering a shock 1-0 defeat at lowly Bournemouth and losing by the same score at Real Madrid as they exited the Champions League.
“We are not dumb, we know the last game we played in Madrid was not a good game, the game before was Bournemouth, not a good game. The game before was world-class,” said Klopp on his side’s inconsistency.
“We have to show up there and really go for it, there’s no other chance for us. You want to play these games; we play City, Chelsea and Arsenal every season but in one week is pretty special.”
Luis Diaz has returned to training but is not in contention to face City after nearly six months out, while Darwin Nunez is fit after recovering from a cut on his foot.