Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool feel no pressure in title race

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists they don’t feel any pressure in their title fight with Manchester City as it was a race they weren’t even in three months ago.

A 2-0 win over Watford at Anfield in the lunchtime kick-off ensured next weekend’s trip to the Etihad Stadium remains hugely important in the context of deciding who will be Premier League champions.

Diogo Jota’s 20th of the season via a first-half header and a late Fabinho penalty sealed a 10th consecutive Premier League victory, with the Reds becoming the only club after City to achieve the feat five times.

“I actually didn’t have a lot of alternatives for it to be different because we had important games,” Klopp said when asked what conviction he had in January when they had 14 points from behind Pep Guardiola’s team.

“Fourteen points behind City means you struggle to qualify for the Champions League. You can’t be champions, we had to qualify for the Champions League.

“We haven’t had a chance to influence City since then. I saw some of their games and the level of performance was unbelievable.

“We wanted to qualify for the Champions League, we wanted to come (win) in a cup competition, and the rest happened trying to play the best football possible.

“We didn’t play the best possible football today, but it was enough, I was really happy that we managed.

“I didn’t expect us to fly. It is unlikely that after the international break it will be the best game of the season.

“To stay in the title race we have to win our football games, it will be really difficult. The next Premier League game is important, we can’t hide it.

Watford’s loss left them 18th in the table and still three points from safety, with Everton immediately above them having three games less.

Manager Roy Hodgson wasn’t too discouraged by the defeat, although he was particularly unhappy with the late penalty award after referee Stuart Atwell was advised by VAR to see Juraj Kucka’s challenge on Jota.

“It’s the only sad moment for me today,” Hodgson said.

Liverpool were awarded a late penalty (Peter Byrne/PA)

“VAR have done a lot of very good things since their introduction into English football, this year better than last year, but I still struggle to see a situation where literally no one sees the incident.

“No Liverpool player has complained about being fouled – but the game is stopped in the 88th minute and they are given the chance to make it 2-0 and it leaves a bad taste in their mouth.

“Whether we would have come back is another matter, but there was a possibility that we had a chance.”

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