Klopp not interested in excuses as Liverpool make quick turnaround
Anfield side need another three points at Sunderland to keep the pressure on Chelsea
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp congratulates his match-winner against Manchester City, Georginio Wijnaldum, whose poweful header in the eighth minute was the only goal of the game at Anfield. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Less than 44 hours after beating title rivals Manchester City in an attritional game at Anfield the Reds will be in action again at the Stadium of Light.
City and Liverpool both have 3pm kick-offs on Monday, but while Pep Guardiola’s men are at home to Burnley, the Reds had to make the 165-mile trip to the north east on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, while many people were still dragging themselves out of bed bleary-eyed after New Year celebrations, Klopp was already poring over a recording of the Black Cats’ weekend defeat at Turf Moor
“I’ve celebrated enough in my life. It is no problem,” said Klopp.
“We all earn a lot of money, we all know about it and our private life changes a little bit.
“I’ve said enough about the fixtures and long ago we accepted it.
“No excuses for no one – that’s how everyone wants it. We have to deliver – and we will deliver.”
Klopp is likely to have to make at least one change after captain Jordan Henderson was forced off with a heel injury – although not the same issue which has plagued him for a year now – in the win over City.
“In this moment, it’s a little bit of pain in the heel,” he added.
“If Hendo is limping it is probably a little bit more pain. We have to see. We don’t know exactly in this moment.”
Any other alterations to the starting line-up will depend on what his conditioning staff tell him.
“Usually after a game you ask a lot of questions and if you get an answer you can rest a player, but I am pretty sure I will not ask a lot of questions like ‘How do you feel’,” Klopp said.
“I will wait for some information from the medical department but we will not have a proper session [on Sunday].
“I can make a line-up when the medical department gives me an opportunity to and the players who are fit will play.
“It was very important we won against City. It would be really hard to go to Sunderland if you got nothing so we will go there and play our best.”
Pep Guardiola is keen to get the second half of the season under way after a dispiriting end to 2016 for Manchester City.
City’s title challenge suffered another knock as they were beaten 1-0 at second-placed Liverpool to fall 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Guardiola’s side can ill afford to drop more points when Burnley visit the Etihad Stadium on Monday with Chelsea, after 13 successive wins, showing little sign of making mistakes themselves.
But manager Guardiola, a winner of multiple titles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is not giving up the chase.
He said: “When you win 12 or 13 games in a row, to drop points is not easy. The gap is huge because they deserve to be there. When they don’t lose it is like this.
“But we are in the Champions League and league [contention]. After that defeat on the last day of the year the conclusion is, always, ‘could be better’ but the way they are training, I am glad to work with these guys.
“Tomorrow we try it again, we start the second leg. We have due respect for the other clubs but we have to focus on ourselves and think about the next one and try to do what we need to do to win the games.”
Defeat at Anfield ended the run of three successive victories that had got City back on track after back-to-back losses to Chelsea and Leicester.
It was a lacklustre showing, with City failing to create many chances after falling behind to Georginio Wijnaldum’s eighth-minute header.
Guardiola, however, was not overly disappointed with the performance.
He said: “I am not a guy to personalise and and say we lost for that reason. It happened for many things.
“But how we reacted at 1-0 at Anfield – I didn’t see people who didn’t run or play with personality. We just missed a little bit up front and Liverpool are one of the best teams.
“A few times it hasn’t happened but normally when we play in these stadiums or opponents come to the Etihad Stadium we play with good personality.”