Liverpool need nerves of steel in title race — Klopp

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores his team’s second goal during the Premier League match against Brighton at Anfield, in Liverpool, on Sunday
MO FIRES: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores his team’s second goal during the Premier League match against Brighton at Anfield, in Liverpool, on Sunday

Liverpool’s ability to keep their nerves under control can make the difference in the Premier League title race, manager Jurgen Klopp said after his side came from a goal down to beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 and go top on Sunday.

Brighton took the lead after just 84 seconds through Danny Welbeck, but Liverpool stayed positive and goals from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah earned them the three points.

Liverpool have now won seven league games this season after conceding first, and Klopp said his side had come a long way in developing their collective mental strength.

“When I talk about being nervous as a whole unit, we were more nervous years ago,” the German told reporters on Sunday.

“That’s long ago, but it is something we had to develop together ...

“If we all together enjoy this, then we have a chance. If we don’t, we still have a chance, it’s just really more difficult and that’s why we try to stay positive in all these moments.”

Liverpool, who face bottom side Sheffield United on Thursday, lead the league with 67 points, two points ahead of Arsenal and three ahead of holders Manchester City.

“We are there with two other teams fighting for the biggest prize in English football and we will see how it will end up,” Klopp, who is stepping down at the end of the season, said.

“But I decided I will try hard to enjoy it.”

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted his team were the ones to beat in the tightest Premier League race for years even though they remain third in the standings after a goalless draw with rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

City had scored in 47 consecutive league games at the Etihad Stadium before coming up against Arsenal’s mighty defensive effort on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta’s side held them scoreless at the Etihad for the first time in the league since they were beaten 2-0 by Crystal Palace in October 2021.

When asked who was the current best side, Guardiola said: “Man City,” then added: “Your reaction, you don’t agree?”

“We would not be here. Semifinals of FA Cup, quarterfinals of Champions League and fighting against Liverpool and Arsenal,” the manager said.

Guardiola pointed to more parity in the league than in recent years, including last season when City pulled away from rivals Arsenal down the stretch to win by five points.

Manchester United were a distant third with 75.

“When you see Liverpool play, I said we cannot [go] 10 points in front, when I see Arsenal play, we cannot [go] 16 points in front, they are really good,” he said.

“Jurgen [Klopp] and Mikel with the teams are exceptional. But still, we are there.

“So do we want to win? Yeah. Do we play to win? Yeah. We created more chances (on Sunday)? No. They created a lot? No. So it was a tight game, yes. It was a battle, yes,” added the Spaniard, who had appointed Arteta as an assistant coach at City when he took charge in 2016.

“I'm satisfied. I said to the team ‘Don't be sad guys.’ I know my players and how they behave, and I give credit to Arsenal for the many good things they do.”

City have so far taken only four points off top-five teams this season, compared with 16 last season.

“We prefer to win obviously,” Guardiola said.

"[But] we take the point, nine games [remaining], we’ll see what will happen.

“The only thing we can do is refresh mind, legs for Wednesday, Aston Villa.” — Reuters



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