Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp chuckled when asked for his response to Pep Guardiola‘s claim that “everyone” is supporting the Reds in the Premier League title race.
City and Liverpool will seemingly be embroiled in a two-way fight for the title until the final day of the season, with the reigning champions currently three points clear of Klopp’s side.
Liverpool had cut the lead at the top down to one point before playing out a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, allowing City to extend their lead with a 5-0 thumping of Newcastle United.
However, Guardiola had some choice words for the media after witnessing his side put Eddie Howe‘s men to the sword, claiming that Liverpool are everyone’s favourites to win the crown this year.
“A week ago, nobody [thought we would be champions],” Guardiola told beIN SPORTS in his post-match interview. “Everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone.
“Of course, Liverpool has an incredible history in Europe. Not in the Premier League, they’ve won one in 30 years. [But] the situation is what it is. We have to [take] nine points, maybe six right now.
“It depends what is going to happen over the next two games. Wednesday [against Wolverhampton Wanderers] is a real, real, real final for us and we are going there to try to win. Our destiny is in our hands, and this is important.”
Klopp was asked for his response ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League showdown with Aston Villa, but the Reds boss played down his counterpart’s comments and admitted that he is prone to unsavoury comments after games.
“I live in Liverpool. Here a lot of people want us to win the league that’s for sure. But even here it’s probably only 50%!” Klopp told reporters.
“As a manager I had this experience recently, we are obviously influenced by the game and the situation. I have said things, would I say it again? No. I said Tottenham play how they play but are still only fifth. It felt good at the moment, but it is probably wrong.
“I don’t know which situation Pep was in. Getting knocked out of the Champions League is difficult enough to take. But then Liverpool made it to the final. You say what you say. I have no idea if the country is supporting us. It is not the feeling I get when we go to other places, it’s actually the opposite.”
Tuesday’s game will also see Villa boss Steven Gerrard come up against his former club, and Klopp was asked whether he could see the ex-England midfielder succeeding him at Anfield.
“My possible successor? Yes, of course, it’s possible. I have no idea, it’s not my decision to make. So I think it’s possible, that’s it,” Klopp said, although the German only recently signed a new deal to stay on until 2026.
The Reds were also without Roberto Firmino for Saturday’s draw with Tottenham due to his foot injury, but Klopp is optimistic about the Brazilian’s chances of making his comeback at Villa Park.
“Bobby Firmino has trained so it is a decision for tomorrow. He is getting closer and closer and closer and hopefully he can be involved,” Klopp added.
Liverpool could go back to the top of the Premier League table on goal difference or goals scored with a win on Tuesday night, but they would need to beat Gerrard’s side by a four-goal margin before City return to action against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday.