By Carl Markham, PA
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remains confident they have plenty of time to catch Manchester City.
The defending Premier League champions could open up a 12-point gap over their rivals with victory over Arsenal on Saturday but Klopp’s side could halve that as they have two matches in hand.
One of those is against fellow chasers Chelsea on Sunday but the Reds boss does not believe his players have to worry too much at this point as the decisive moment in the title race is still a couple of months away.
“If we had won against Leicester (they suffered their second defeat of the season on Tuesday), I think it would have been a really good December – but we didn’t,” he said.
“All of a sudden, because of the form of City, it is a difficult moment from outside.
“From us not so much because we expect there is always the possibility of losing a football game.
“That’s now over, and we have to make sure we are on it again.
“When you have this close fight – especially with an incredibly-consistent team as City, where it looks like they are not a little bit fazed by Covid or injuries, it is just they are in a good moment – you cannot win the league properly in the winter, it is unlikely.
“But what they have done is absolutely deserved. There will be a decisive moment in April and you have to be close enough.
“So many games to play, so many different competitions to play, and we have to make sure we have enough players to compete.
“But let’s just play on and at the end of the season one team will be champion.”
City’s form means Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge is a match neither side can really afford not to win.
Both clubs have suffered recent setbacks but Klopp has seen his players bounce back before, more recently in the final couple of months last season when they put together a charge which secured Champions League football which appeared unlikely in March.
“The only chance to catch anyone who is ahead of you is to win football games, that’s not so easy as we play against Chelsea who are a proper football team, who have similar issues to what we do,” added Klopp.
“We go there, we try everything, but it is a tricky place to go anyway. You don’t win there with an average performance, so we should be concerned about how good we can be to play the best football game we are able to play.
“Our last game, which we were obviously not happy with, and we have to show a reaction. Now of course, we have to show we can do much better. Again we will see.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 30, 2021
“It is nothing to do with City because we cannot catch them without playing football. Play football, try to get as many points as possible, and then we will see.
“What I expect is a football reaction, but I would have expected a reaction if we had won.
“I am pretty positive about the mentality of my boys as I’ve known them long enough but when you play a top game it is not guaranteed you win at Chelsea.”