LIVERPOOL, England, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said that his team could not afford to think about league leaders Chelsea despite Saturday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City strengthening their position as the main challengers to the London club.
Chelsea beat Stoke City 4-2 earlier on Saturday to extend their winning streak to 13 games but an eighth minute header from Georginio Wijnaldum earned Liverpool a win that kept them within six points of Antonio Conte’s team.
“We cannot look at Chelsea, they are unbelievably strong of course, on an outstanding run with 13 wins in a row. Not bad,” Klopp told reporters.
”Can you imagine how annoying it is when you win 13 games in a row and we are only six points behind?
”But I am pretty sure they don’t think about this, so why should we?
“The league is unbelievably difficult this year.”
The win moved Liverpool four points ahead of third-placed City but despite the victory against their North-West rivals, the German coach still highlighted some areas for improvement.
“The problem we had tonight was that we were not as good as we could have been (in possession),” he said.
”We created a few moments, we had a wonderful goal, we had our counter-attacks ... but we passed too late, or not in the right direction.
”We were not as confident as we could have been in our possession, sometimes we lost the ball too easily.
“It was hard work but it was not that we expected something different - we were playing Man City and you have to work for the three points,” added the former Borussia Dortmund coach.
Klopp praised the performance of his defence, which in the past has been identified as the weak link in his team.
”I know everyone talks about our defence but the defending today was really good.
”It’s not about avoiding goals - that’s the end product - it’s about how we work together. I think we have the smallest number of shots on our goal in the league.
“Tonight the concentration level was outstanding,” he said.
Klopp said midfielder Jordan Henderson, who was replaced during the second half, was suffering from a heel injury but he was not clear how serious it was. (Editing by Steve Tongue)