Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool aren't far from being real title challengers, insists Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp is confident Liverpool can still challenge at the top end of the Premier League despite seeing another two points slip from their grasp at Newcastle.

Sunday's 1-1 draw at St James' Park left the Reds in seventh place in the table, already seven points adrift of top two Manchester City and Manchester United after as many games.

However, Klopp is confident his team is on the right track and will continue to improve as the season unfolds.

He said: "I can talk about our football and the points we get for it, and then we talk about the gap between us and other teams. We have, obviously, our hard moments; other teams will have hard moments.

"We have had hard moments and we have to work on our thing. I really think that it looks like we are not far away from a real challenger, so if we do what we are good at and we can score more goals, then we will win games and we don't have to think about other teams.

"We will close the gap, however big it is, and we will see where we end. But it's all about our own situation, not thinking about where the others are."

Liverpool took a 27th-minute lead when Philippe Coutinho rifled an exquisite long-range effort past goalkeeper Rob Elliot.

However, their advantage lasted for just nine minutes when defender Joel Matip's efforts to regain lost ground on Joselu saw him direct the ball against the Magpies striker and into the net.

The visitors then spurned a series of chances to win the game, and might even have lost it had Newcastle substitute Mohamed Diame been able to find a stoppage-time finish.

Asked if his side should have won the game, Klopp said: "Yes, I thought. But I have to accept it. I know how it works, I have to accept it."

Opposite number Rafael Benitez was happy enough with a point against his former club on the balance of play.

He said: "We know it is a very good team and that is the point for me, to be pleased with the performance of my players because they were working very hard.

"I still think that in the last minutes if we were a little bit better on the ball, maybe we could have got the three points."

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