Watch Manchester City vs Liverpool live on Sky Sports Premier League or Main Event from 8pm on Thursday; Kick-off is 8.15pm
By Rory O’Callaghan
Last Updated: 01/07/20 2:59pm
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool will attack the Premier League title next season rather than defend it, and expects Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United to lead the challenge.
Liverpool were crowned champions on Thursday night after nearest rivals City lost at Stamford Bridge, ending the Merseyside club’s 30-year wait for the league title.
The Reds travel to face City at the Etihad on Thursday, live on Sky Sports, and Klopp insists there will not be any hangover from his side and expects them to maintain their hunger next season.
Man City vs Liverpool
July 2, 2020, 8:00pm
“As long as we stay humble and greedy, we have a good chance to remain a really uncomfortable opponent,” he said.
“When you are a really uncomfortable opponent, you have a chance to win. And when you have a chance to win, then sometimes you have to win.
“There are a lot of challenges, life is constantly a challenge, and our challenge is now being champions and playing seven games against teams that will fight for everything.
“We can show that we don’t run because we have to, we run because we want to.
“Next season, you can write stories about us being the defending champions or whatever, but that is why I say – we will not defend anything, we will attack it.”
When asked if City were likely to be Liverpool’s main rivals for the title again next season, Klopp added: “City will be strong next season, [Manchester] United will be strong next season, Chelsea will be strong next season. They all will be strong next season.
“It is obvious. City are just an outstanding team, United are in outstanding shape and Chelsea are in really good shape and are doing some interesting business. That is clear.
“Tottenham will not sleep, Arsenal will not sleep. They all will come. Leicester will be there. There are a lot of teams.”
Klopp: Guard of honour a ‘nice gesture’
Pep Guardiola has confirmed Manchester City will give Liverpool a guard of honour when the teams meet on Thursday.
Klopp says it will be a “nice gesture” from last season’s champions but says it will mean little when once the action gets underway at the Etihad.
“I’m not sure if I ever got one [at Borussia Dortmund]. I’m not 100 per cent sure but it is a long time ago that I won in Germany,” said Klopp.
“I don’t know if it’s a German tradition, but it’s an English tradition so we will take it. It is a nice gesture, 100 per cent.
“I wouldn’t need it to be honest because we go there to win a football game and don’t celebrate things that happened a week before, but it’s a nice gesture. That’s it pretty much.”
‘AFCON postponement not a decision to celebrate’
Liverpool will have Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita at the start of next year after it was confirmed the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations would be postponed until 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament was due to be held from January 9 until February 6 next year but will now be scheduled for January 2022.
Klopp is pleased he will have three of his key players available during that period but feels sympathy for Africa and the current challenges faces the continent.
He said: “I like it that the AFCON was postponed but what I don’t like is the reasons for it. The African continent feels that it is not possible to have a tournament there, which I don’t like obviously.
“But from a planning point of view it makes sense and for us, it helps because we don’t have to consider this tournament at that moment.
“The tournaments that are in the middle of the season are not cool for planning. We have three of the best, if not the three best, African players in our squad.
“We know they would be there for a long time, they wouldn’t play in the group stage and go home, so they would be there for a long time – maybe until the final.
“So, yes for us it is good but it is not a decision to celebrate.”