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
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