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Klopp out to turn up title heat on Spurs

By Carl Markham

Published 02/04/2016

Strike a pose: Daniel Sturridge will hope to be celebrating for Liverpool against Tottenham
Strike a pose: Daniel Sturridge will hope to be celebrating for Liverpool against Tottenham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has ramped up the pressure on Tottenham by challenging them to come to Anfield and win to keep alive their title hopes.

Mauricio Pochettino's side trail Premier League leaders Leicester, who host Southampton tomorrow, by five points but with seven matches remaining they cannot afford any slip-ups.

Spurs' record at Anfield is poor, with just four wins in the last 69 league meetings on Merseyside, and, although Klopp's side are inconsistent at home with just five league wins this season, he has put the pressure firmly on the visitors.

"Usually it is not important for us to think about the situation of the other team, but in this special case I think it makes sense to know about it," he said.

"If I were not the manager of Liverpool maybe I could enjoy the stories of Leicester and Tottenham more.

"This is a pretty good year to become champion because a lot of clubs who fight for this title are usually not involved. There is pressure for teams at the top and we will see who handles it better.

"This is the decisive third for Tottenham and if you want to become champion of the Premier League, for Tottenham especially, this year is a good opportunity.

"No one knows what will happen to Tottenham next year, if players leave or not. This year they have a good situation with injuries - no important players were really injured.

"Maybe for Tottenham it is like a final. They have to win it to put pressure on Leicester.

"If you know about the pressure you want to use this: when Tottenham play against Liverpool, it is usually not a birthday party - it is a hard fight. It will be a high-intensity game and we have to use this."

Tonight's match pitches two of England's top strikers against each other in Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane. Both are vying for a starting spot in Roy Hodgson's side for Euro 2016 and, despite his injury problems, Klopp would be more than happy for Sturridge to go to France rather than have the summer off.

Klopp said: "If I say I wish Daniel could have a real holiday and doesn't have to go to the European Championships, what kind of manager would I be?

"It is the European Championships and playing for your country is the best thing a player can do, and I wish for him to be part of it.

"The situation here is the best situation since I have been here; he trained all sessions with the national team, he had 65 minutes against Netherlands and was absolutely okay.

"He is very important for us and hopefully he is fit until the end of the season."

Pochettino knows victory at Anfield would take his side two points behind the league leaders, who play tomorrow.

He said: "First we need to try to win our game.

"We have a tough game against Liverpool, and it is important to win the game. If we don't win the game, it is impossible to wait for anything from the Leicester game. Our game is more important."

Belfast Telegraph

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