Klopp: Slick City smashed my cham­pi­ons

Liver­pool man­ager says team will come again af­ter hum­bling Ger­man ad­mits there should not be 20 points be­tween sides

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Luke Ed­wards

Jur­gen Klopp be­lieves Manch­ester City are the only team in the world good enough to thrash his Liver­pool side, af­ter the Premier League cham­pi­ons were shown just how hard it will be to de­fend their ti­tle.

Klopp tried as hard as he could to pro­tect his play­ers af­ter last night’s 4-0 de­feat, which came cour­tesy of goals from Kevin De Bruyne (penalty), Ra­heem Ster­ling, Phil Fo­den and an Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain own goal. But he knows this is an early warn­ing to those still bask­ing in the glory of Liver­pool’s first ti­tle suc­cess for 30 years.

“This has noth­ing to do with [win­ning the ti­tle] last week,” a prickly Klopp said. “It hurts like all de­feats hurt. What I wanted to see was a team that was ready to fight… they won the de­ci­sive mo­ments... This doesn’t usu­ally hap­pen against us, but they have ex­cep­tional qual­ity. They used our mis­takes, we didn’t use their mis­takes.

“If there is a team in the world that can smash us like this it is prob­a­bly City, but we will come again.

“Make a few things bet­ter and it could look dif­fer­ently, but if you see that game tonight, you can see the gap in qual­ity be­tween us and City is not 20 points. I can’t help that.

“It was a re­minder how good City are. I didn’t need that, it’s true, I knew that be­fore. But it was still a sur­prise that it is pos­si­ble [for us to be beaten like that]. It is nice that in a league that City play in, that some­one else can still be cham­pi­ons with the qual­ity they have. We will see [if we can be cham­pi­ons] again, but it’s a while un­til then, we’ve still got six games left of this sea­son. I saw tonight a team who are ready but if we lose 4-0, you don’t have many ar­gu­ments. . We have 2½ days to pre­pare for As­ton Villa.”

Liver­pool’s play­ers inevitably looked fa­tigued af­ter last week’s cel­e­bra­tions, de­spite Klopp’s claims to the con­trary, and rarely looked like get­ting back into the game af­ter De Bruyne had given their hosts the lead.

“The game was open, but it clicked more for City than for us.” the Ger­man said. “But I wanted to see a bril­liant at­ti­tude and I saw that. The boys were re­ally fight­ing.

“If City are click­ing it is un­com­fort­able to play them. It is very un­com­fort­able to play us. We had good mo­ments, but it is dif­fi­cult to men­tion them be­cause we lost 4-0.”

Pep Guardi­ola has told Gareth South­gate that Eng­land have a su- per­star in the mak­ing in Phil Fo­den.

Fo­den scored his fourth goal in as many games and set up an­other en route to help­ing Manch­ester City dis­man­tle cham­pi­ons Liver­pool, and Guardi­ola be­lieves he and Eng­land man­ager South­gate have a rare tal­ent at their dis­posal. The City mid­fielder had been in line for his first se­nior in­ter­na­tional call-up in March be­fore Eng­land’s friendlies against Italy and Den­mark were can­celled due to the Covid-19 cri­sis and Guardi­ola be­lieves it is only a mat­ter of time be­fore he be­comes a star for club and coun­try.

“Gareth has an in­cred­i­ble tal­ent for the na­tional team, I saw many play­ers in my life, in­cred­i­ble play­ers and Phil will be one of them,” the City man­ager said.

“All man­agers around the world love to work with good play­ers, the suc­cess we have as man­agers is train­ing in­cred­i­ble play­ers, and Phil is one of them.

“All of his mates must look at his be­hav­iour in train­ing ses­sions – never one bad face whether he plays 90 min­utes or does not. He goes in train­ing and, like a lit­tle boy, he wants to play, fight. It’s in­cred­i­ble that we have him for the next years, he can play mid­field, on the wing, striker, he has an in­cred­i­ble sense of goal.

“He’s a mid­field player but ... I don’t want to dis­miss the chance to play him close to the box be­cause he has some­thing spe­cial. We have games in the train­ing ses­sions and he scores two or three, he has a sense of goal, we can­not lose this in­cred­i­ble qual­ity. It’s dif­fi­cult to find the qual­ity he has.

“What we’ve done is try to pro­tect him … but he’s got in­cred­i­ble things which don’t make me doubt. Ev­ery­thing needs a process. He trusts us and wants to play here. He’s a City fan, we take care of the academy. That’s why, for us, we are so proud of Phil and Eric [Gar­cia] from the academy. The dif­fer­ence is the men­tal­ity and, when that hap­pens, it’s the best present we can get as a club and a man­ager.”

Ra­heem Ster­ling said City felt they had a “point to prove” against Liver­pool. “We knew we were be­hind and dis­ap­pointed at times this sea­son and lost games we should have won, so we had a test against the cur­rent cham­pi­ons to make a point and we did bril­liantly,” the for­mer Liver­pool for­ward said. “Next sea­son the man­ager said we need to go out here and try to do our best and that next sea­son starts to­day. I think we did well.”

Jump­ing for joy: Ra­heem Ster­ling cel­e­brates scor­ing his side’s sec­ond goal af­ter 35 min­utes at the Eti­had Sta­dium last night as Liver­pool’s Joe Gomez (cen­tre) sinks to his knees in de­spair

Turn­ing the ta­bles: Manch­ester City give Liver­pool a guard of hon­our on to the pitch (top left) be­fore tear­ing them apart, go­ing ahead through Kevin De Bruyne and then scor­ing more goals through Ra­heem Ster­ling and Phil Fo­den, be­fore Alex OxladeCham­ber­lain puts the ball into his own net to make it 4-0

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