Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp dismisses Premier League title 'favourites' tag

Reds, who play Sheffield United on Thursday, have been tipped to clinch championship after rivals Manchester City and Arsenal drew at the weekend

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates their victory over Brighton at Anfield. PA
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he does not care if his side are now considered favourites to win the Premier League.

Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Brighton, combined with Manchester City and Arsenal’s goalless draw, lifted the Reds back to the top of the table with just nine matches remaining.

Of the three teams vying for top spot, Liverpool arguably have the kindest run-in, with football data experts Opta's predictive model making them favourites with a 47.7 per cent chance of claiming the title, compared to Manchester City (33.5 per cent) and Arsenal (18.8 per cent).

However, those numbers were crunched ahead of a full midweek fixture list, and Klopp was eager to stress the title picture could look very different by the time they play again at the weekend.

“[Being favourites] is nothing we are obviously aware of. The situation is, for us, Sheffield United, and not who is the favourite,” Klopp said ahead of Thursday’s home game against the rock-bottom Blades.

“I am pretty sure when we lost at Arsenal [on February 4] we were not favourites after that – maybe rightly so – but I don’t know and I don’t care.

“One of the most important things to get through this period is to ignore the outside ‘mess’ as it goes up and down and is emotional.

“We have to be professional – be emotional but in the right way – and be the best version of ourselves, play the best football we can play and then let’s see what the outcome is.

“There are no guarantees, there are just opportunities. The clearer the opportunity, the more likely you can take it.”

Liverpool will be the last of the title chasers to play this week, with City and Arsenal in action on Wednesday, but Klopp says he will not be watching their games.

“I didn’t even know they played,” he added. “I expect them always to win.

“I told you one story, years ago, I watched a game and wanted Leicester to win [against Manchester City in 2019] and it didn’t happen.

“That was the last time that I did that. That’s when you learn from the past. When they play, my heart-rate doesn’t go up.

“We need to get our points in, win our football games.”

Putting the bigger picture aside, it would be a massive shock should Klopp's men fail to dispatch a Blades side that has conceded 77 goals in 29 matches and has a goal difference of minus 50 after managing just three wins – just one away from home – all season.

It looks like a straightforward task against a team who have not kept a clean sheet in four months, with the subsequent visit to Manchester United on Sunday – where only three weeks ago Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup – the bigger obstacle to their title ambitions.

But Klopp, who has already announced he will leave Liverpool in the summer, said: “If I would think now about Manchester United, our people [fans] would have a right to think I am already too long in the chair.

“It makes no sense. You cannot win football games not respecting the opponent. I have no chance of influencing the Manchester United game at the moment. We will play players who are available.

“We want to use them, for example Curtis Jones is back but it doesn’t mean he can play 90 minutes. Other players might need rhythm because we need them. How can we do that?

“It has nothing to do with the Manchester United game, Sheffield United deserve our full respect and they will get it.”

As well as midfielder Jones, left-back Andy Robertson is also available to face the Blades after missing Sunday's victory over the Seagulls with an injury sustained on Scotland duty.

Updated: April 03, 2024, 3:00 PM