Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s champions-elect and branded the football that carried them to the brink of the title as ‘exceptional.’
Liverpool demolished Crystal Palace 4-0 at Anfield and their 30-year wait to win the league will be over if Manchester City – who, according to Pep Guardiola, will field a much-changed team – drop any points against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Klopp is rarely so buoyant after a victory but he was effusive here following a success that carried his team 23 points clear. Remarkably, they stopped Palace from having a touch inside their area – the first time that has happened to a Premier League side since Opta stats were introduced in 2008.
Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s champions-elect and branded the football ‘exceptional’
This was a statement-making performance, a display which Palace manager Roy Hodgson admitted his side were powerless to stop. Klopp’s only grumble was the fact it happened inside an empty stadium but he believes his players filled their supporters with delight.
‘You should not underestimate how much this team wants it,’ said Klopp. ‘This team really wants it. They want to fulfil the wishes of the people at home, really. We all have a common dream but we have to work for it. We have to work our way for it.
‘We can’t play like other teams but we can play pretty good stuff. That is what the boys did. When we spoke after the game, we spoke about the clean sheet. Usually when that happens, Alisson is massively involved. On this occasion, that was not the case.
The Reds ran out 4-0 winners against Crystal Palace and their wait for a title is nearly over
‘The game was exceptional. From talking about football, it was exceptional from so many points of view. It is so difficult against a 4-5-1 but how we pushed them back! The free-kick of Trent? Exceptional. The second goal? Wonderful pass from Fabinho, sensational finish by Mo.
‘The third goal was then Fabinho… yes! He scored already against Man City like that, he showed he can do it. But then we score the fourth goal. What a pass from Mo! Sadio finishes the move off, exceptional. There were so, so many good things about it even when we did not score.
‘When the kids (substitutes Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott) came on, they were involved immediately and they could have scored. This game will last in my mind for a while. This is where we want to be. This is what we have to show against each and everybody.’
And Klopp was buoyant of his praise for his side after they bullied their way past Palace
The finishing line is now insight and the only way City can prolong the race is by beating Chelsea and Liverpool next Thursday. The reality, however, is that Klopp’s team almost have both hands on the trophy thanks to one of their best performances of the campaign.
Asked whether he will watch the match at Stamford Bridge, Klopp said: ‘I watch the game not to prepare a celebration but because we play City a week later and also Chelsea. This game is a really important game to watch for plenty of reasons.
‘Whatever happens we have no influence on it so I have no interest. I am pretty sure the game next week against City is a must watch for every football fan on this planet because whatever will be decided two really good teams face each other.
But the German claimed he had no interest in what happens when Man City face Chelsea
‘I watch the game tomorrow night to know what City is doing and what Chelsea is doing when we play them. I have nothing to do with any other things. We don’t plan things like that, we want to play this game tonight. We wanted this result.’
Trent Alexander-Arnold, scorer of the superb first goal with a dipping free-kick, added: ‘It’s two points (we need); it’s quite close but a lot can happen. We have worked hard for this as a team and this is what we have always dreamed. Hopefully we will get it across the line.’
Roy Hodgson saw Crystal Palace’s hopes fade when Wilfried Zaha suffered a 15th minute calf problem. His squad had been stretched because of injuries but he offered no excuse, saying: ‘Liverpool played with such hunger and power. I offer them my congratulations.’
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