(Reuters) – Liverpool’s three victories over Premier League champions Manchester City last season do not mean they have their rivals’ number, manager Juergen Klopp said ahead of Sunday’s clash between the pair at Anfield.
Liverpool beat City 4-3 in a Premier League thriller in January before enjoying a 3-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Anfield.
At City’s Etihad Stadium, Klopp’s side won 2-1 in the return leg but the German doesn’t want to read much into those results.
“We beat City three times last season and not once after any of those games did we go into the dressing room and think ‘now we know how to beat them’,” said the Liverpool manager.
“We have to be spot on, on our best to keep them away from our goal and create chances in front of our goal. They have my respect, for sure. It will be hard work, no problem with that, everybody knows it.”
While the pair are level on 19 points at the top of the table, Klopp does not view the game as a title battle.
“I don’t think it makes too much sense at the moment to think about the title, but it’s a home game against Man City and it’s tough. Man City is always tough, even when we won 3-0 in the Champions League.
“In the 4-3 they were really good. They never gave up even at 4-1 down,” he said.
The Reds lost to Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday and after a draw at Chelsea in the Premier League and the home loss to the London club in the League Cup, Liverpool have gone three games without a win.
Klopp says the losing feel can help his team focus on the challenge of beating City.
“We want to show a reaction. I didn’t want to lose at Napoli but if you ask the best preparation mood wise, it’s losing a game. We felt it now, we don’t want to have that feeling again,” he said.
Midfielder Naby Keita is an injury doubt for Sunday’s game although his back injury is not as bad as initially feared.
“He had a back spasm and so we have to wait a little bit. He will be in today. If he can do something on the training ground, I don’t know. Tomorrow (Saturday), we have to decide. It didn’t look too serious so there’s a chance.”
(Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Martyn Herman)