Premier League: Klopp targets six wins for glory, Arteta calls for a response

Pivotal weekend in relegation battle as bottom six all play each other

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says a perfect finish to their league season will deliver the Premier League title. Reuters
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says a perfect six wins from six in their remaining games will be enough to see them crowned Premier League champions.

A poor run of results – starting with a draw at Manchester United and followed by home defeats to Atalanta and Crystal Palace – was ended by a 1-0 Europa League win in Bergamo on Thursday, but that wasn't enough to stop them slipping out of the competition at the quarter-final stage.

The game in Italy did deliver a morale-boosting first clean sheet in 10 matches and Klopp, whose side visit Fulham in the late game on Sunday, insists Manchester City's two-point advantage in the title race is not insurmountable.

“It’s not obviously in our hands, [but] it is not about that,” said Klopp, who leaves the club at the end of the season.

“I think if we would win all our games there is a good chance we will be champion. If not there is a good chance someone else will be champion.

“Maybe we only have to win five, but nobody knows. Who would have thought that Arsenal lose against Aston Villa?

“We all sit here and think ‘OK, yeah. City will win all their games’ and that’s happened quite frequently, but they have a lot of games to play and difficult opponents as well.

“We don’t think about that. We don’t think about them. It is just how can we make sure we start winning games again.”

The Reds will face a Fulham team full of confidence after a 2-0 win at West Ham last weekend.

"I think we’re in the best moment of the season," said Cottagers boss Marco Silva. "We haven't had big injuries in the last month and a half, or two months. All the squad is available."

Arteta urges side to prove their character

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta implored his Arsenal team to show “what they are made of” after the double blow of a Premier League title bid wobble and their Champions League exit.

Beaten 2-0 at home by Aston Villa last Sunday, the Gunners crashed out of Europe at the hands of Bayern Munich in midweek. Arsenal can go top, however, if they beat Wolves on Saturday as Manchester City are busy in the FA Cup.

“It’s been an experience, not the best one," Arteta said of the past week. “We’re fully focused on the times we have ahead of us with six games to go.

“The context is clear, if we win we go top of the league, you don’t need anything else to be motivated.”

Arsenal are without a win in their last three games in all competitions, having drawn the first leg 2-2 against Bayern.

“It is what it is and we have to accept it,” Arteta added. “The Bayern one at home at the beginning, it could have been different. Against Villa we were the better team, but in the second half we paid the price for the chances we gave them and we have to move on from there.

“Now it is about showing against Wolves what we are made of and turning the situation around.”

Moyes eyes another European adventure

David Moyes has challenged West Ham to secure continental football with a strong Premier League finish to ease their Europa League frustrations.

The Hammers, Conference League winners in 2023, were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by German champions Bayer Leverkusen following a 1-1 second leg draw at the London Stadium on Thursday night.

Moyes, whose future remains unclear with his contract up at the end of the season, said: “We would love to do it again, we really would – but you have to remember last year we did it by winning a trophy, it wasn’t our league position last year.

“Our league position this year has improved greatly. We’ve been challenging nearly all season, we’ve been around the top seven or eight all season.

“Obviously we know the level of the games we’ve got, we know the level of the opponents who are challenging as well for those European positions, so it will be tough. If we can get back to Europe again, I think it would be great.”

The Hammers go to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Big weekend at the bottom

Remarkably, the league's bottom six all play each other in what should be a pivotal day in the relegation battle.

Sheffield United and Burnley both seemingly look doomed but each will know their meeting at Bramall Lane is must-win. Clarets boss Vincent Kompany has backed goalkeeper Arijanet Muric after a series of costly blunders.

“I’ve had this type of season with my players where I’ve had to back them otherwise you end up with no players left on the pitch. You have to back them and you have to support them," said Kompany.

Luton will know they can crack the battle to stay up wide open by beating Brentford at Kenilworth Road.

But boss Rob Edwards said: “I don’t think it is must-win. We know it is business time and we must be getting results. We put that pressure on the last home game (against Bournemouth) and we were able to produce a really good performance, a brilliant second-half performance and a win. So we know how important it is. It is not must-win because it doesn’t mean we’re down if we don’t win tomorrow, but we all recognise the importance of it.

“We know what a win means but there is still a long way to go.”

Meanwhile, perhaps the biggest game of the weekend is the battle between the two teams deducted points as Nottingham Forest visit Everton on Sunday.

Hammered 6-0 at Chelsea on Monday, Toffees boss Sean Dyche admitted a team meeting was needed to clear the air.

“We spoke to the players about it, and they fed back their disappointment, as well as mine. But equally, by now we’ve made sense of it, of course. But, the day after, we certainly didn’t. It was a challenge," he said.

“There were a lot of home truths - me included, by the way, about what I expect from myself, from the staff, and from the players, and realigning, saying: ‘Right, you can only do it as a group. You can’t do it as individuals'.

“The players have been disappointed. I must make that clear. It’s a funny thing about football nowadays, [people asking] ‘Do they care?’ They care. Trust me, they care. I care deeply about what we’re trying to achieve here.

“We’ve had a chat about it this morning to finish it off and go: ‘Right, that’s gone. We move forwards'."

His Forest counterpart, Nuno Espirito Santo, admitted they had been doing extra training to cope with the hosts' prowess at set-pieces.

"They score a lot from set-pieces so it's about working, working, working. It's what we’ve done today, what we’ll do tomorrow again and what we’ve done before yesterday," he said.

"It’s putting things right, and fortunately we only conceded [from] one corner last game. We’ve been able to be really strong with our pressing.

"It’s finding the balance of not conceding set-pieces and, at the same time, when they happen, being focused and determined to solve it."

Updated: April 20, 2024, 1:14 PM