LONDON – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Manchester City will provide relentless opposition in the race for the Premier League title this season.
Klopp’s table-toppers lead second-placed reigning champions City by four points heading into this week’s matches.
But this week, for the first time since December 15, City will play a league match before title rivals Liverpool, with Pep Guardiola’s men in action away to Newcastle on Tuesday – 24 hours before the Reds face Leicester at Anfield.
It is a pattern that will be repeated for the next two rounds of league matches, but an unconcerned Klopp said on Tuesday: “For me, no difference. If we win the game, we are not interested in other results.
“How can we change the approach?” added the German, who is looking to guide Liverpool to their first domestic championship title since 1990.
“I said it a few times, I expect City to win every game,” he explained. “It makes sense that you think like this.
“I expect City to beat Newcastle, but I will still watch it because we play Newcastle as well. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t sit in front of the TV and think (damn) when they score or whatever.
“I really believe that you have to do your own work, your own job if you want to have something.
“Don’t be concentrated on other teams, it doesn’t help. I expect to be one point up before the game tomorrow, and that doesn’t bother me.”
Meanwhile, Klopp was hopeful Virgil van Dijk would be fit to face the Foxes.
The influential centre-back has been ill since Liverpool returned from a training camp in Dubai last week.
But he was back on the pitch with the squad at Melwood, the Merseyside club’s training ground, on Tuesday.
Van Dijk has not missed a Premier League match since the fixture away to Huddersfield year ago.
The Dutch international is widely seen as the reason for the major improvement in Liverpool’s defence that has seen them concede a mere 13 league goals – the lowest total in the division – so far this season.
He has also been on the pitch for all-but 35 minutes of league action this season, having exited with a rib injury against Southampton earlier in the campaign.
“Virg was a little bit ill, but he trained yesterday. He will train today, and then we will see,” said Klopp.
Liverpool have problems at right back, with James Milner serving a one-match suspension, while Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee) and Joe Gomez (leg) are injured.
Klopp could field midfielder Fabinho, a right back for Brazil, but the player only returned to training on Tuesday following illness, with youngster Rafael Camacho another alternative.
“You have to wait until tomorrow. We will play with a right back, or a wing back,” said Klopp. “I cannot answer. I have no clue what we are doing, to be honest!”AFP