(Reuters) – Liverpool will not allow themselves to be distracted by the weekend’s Premier League match against Manchester City and are solely focused on Tuesday’s Champions League group game against Genk, manager Juergen Klopp has said.
League leaders Liverpool host City in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday as they look to extend a six-point advantage.
European champions Liverpool are second in their Champions League group — a point behind Napoli — and Klopp’s side host Genk at Anfield.
“I don’t think about Man City, I don’t have to tell the boys. The story they wrote the last three years is only possible because we focus on the next game,” Klopp told reporters on Monday.
“We have big ambitions in the Champions League and it’s an open group. We have to be 100% spot on, we have to make an atmosphere, get these points. For the people at Anfield, we need to focus on this match, same as the players.
“I don’t doubt my players at all, I would feel a bit embarrassed if I had to tell them, ‘Don’t think about Man City already’.”
Klopp also hit back at City boss Pep Guardiola, who accused Liverpool forward Sadio Mane of diving after his match-winning display against Aston Villa over the weekend.
“I don’t know how he could have known about any incident in our game so quickly after the game,” Klopp added. “Sadio is not a diver. There was a situation in the Villa game when he got a contact and went down but there was contact.
“I’m 100% sure if something like this happened to Man City they would want to have a penalty. I’m absolutely not in the mood to talk about Man City, I really want to talk about Genk.”
Liverpool beat Genk 4-1 away in the previous round of fixtures but Klopp said they would “respect” the Belgian side as they were targeting a third-place finish and a spot in the Europa League knockout stages.
“The group is still open and we need everyone,” the German manager said. “They can still make Europa League so they still have targets. We need to respect them.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)