Jurgen Klopp asked why Liverpool should stop believing they can win the Premier League title as the Reds prepare to visit Aston Villa on Tuesday.
Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham on Saturday, the day before Manchester City moved three points clear at the top with a 5-0 hammering of Newcastle United.
City also boast a superior goal difference, four better than Liverpool, but Klopp is refusing to give up hope that the Reds can catch Pep Guardiola’s side.
“I am not sure I said (the title race is still on) because it is obvious,” the German said.
“We both have three to play, my concern is how can we win our games. We shouldn’t add on points before games are played.
“Why should we stop believing? The perfect situation would be we were nine points clear, 30-plus goals but it’s not possible, so let’s go from here.
“It’s easy to describe our situation. We drew, they won, the goal difference too. We can decide for ourselves how we see it. There are some facts but I try to help the boys see it like me.”
Villa were 3-1 victors at relegation-threatened Burnley last time out, and manager Steven Gerrard – a Liverpool legend – knows his side can have a big say on the title race, with City to play on the last day of the season as well.
“That’s the way the fixtures have fallen – we’re also affecting the relegation zone as well. But it’s a 38-game season and that’s just the way it is,” he said.
“My job is to win games for Aston Villa and that will always be the case while I’m representing this club.
“I want to win fiercely and there will be nothing different on my mind tomorrow.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Aston Villa – Ollie Watkins
Ollie Watkins has scored more Premier League goals against Liverpool than he has any other side (4), netting a hat-trick in this exact fixture last season.
Liverpool – Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane has scored 14 Premier League goals for Liverpool this season, with only Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota netting more for the club. Liverpool could become just the second team in Premier League history to have three players reach 15 goals in a single campaign, after Manchester City’s title winning side of 2013-14 (Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko).
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Liverpool have won seven of their last eight Premier League meetings with Aston Villa, with the exception being a 7-2 loss at Villa Park last season.
– There have been 20 away wins in Premier League meetings between Aston Villa and Liverpool, with the Reds’ 14 wins at the Villans more than they’ve beaten any other side on the road. In fact, only Manchester City vs Manchester United (21) has been won by the away side more in Premier League history.
– Liverpool have scored 41 away Premier League goals this season, only failing to score in only one away game (0-1 vs Leicester). The Reds have only scored more away league goals in two seasons: 42 in 1946-47 (won the top-flight) and 48 in 2013-14 (finished 2nd in Premier League).
– Aston Villa have won their last two Premier League matches and are looking to win three in a row for only the third time in their last nine top-flight campaigns. Those two runs have come in the last two seasons, a four-game run in September/October 2020, and a three-game run in February/March this year.
– Liverpool haven’t dropped a single point against sides starting the day in the bottom half of the table this season, winning all 18 such games by an aggregate score of 52-4. No team in Premier League history has ever won 100% of their games against bottom half sides in a single campaign, with Liverpool’s 18 wins the joint-most along with Manchester United in 2006-07.