Belfast Telegraph

Klopp on cloud nine as Pep fumes at ref

 

Fab strike: Fabinho celebrates his Liverpool wonder goal with Mane
Fab strike: Fabinho celebrates his Liverpool wonder goal with Mane
City boss Guardiola glares at ref Michael Oliver

By Andy Hampson

Jurgen Klopp last night admitted he could hardly believe his Liverpool side had opened up a nine-point lead over champions Manchester City.

Klopp's Premier League leaders beat City 3-1 in the clash of the two title favourites at Anfield yesterday, leaving rival Pep Guardiola fuming at refereeing decisions.

But the German claimed it was far too early in the season for such an advantage to be significant and the pressures of the title race were yet to come. Klopp said: "Today we were completely focused on this game and not the situation in the table and how many points we are ahead of City. That's just crazy. Nine points ahead of City - you cannot imagine that something like this would happen.

"But it's not important because who wants to be first in November? You want to be first in May. It's only November. "

Guardiola tried to remonstrate with ref Michael Oliver (left) as his side were twice denied penalties for possible handballs against Trent Alexander-Arnold. The first was the most controversial, coming just before Fabinho's brilliant Liverpool opener.

Klopp added: “The pressure is not there yet. It will come, but at the moment it’s just opportunity and go for it and do the work, throw in all you have and let’s see what happens.

“We don’t feel any pressure, to be 100% honest. Nine points is a positive but there’s a long way to go.

“People will 100% say, and have said already, that from now on Liverpool can only lose it.

“That’s a very negative approach but we don’t care, I can promise you that we don’t care.”

Liverpool took a firm grip on the game with two goals in the opening 13 minutes but there was controversy over the first.

The ball struck Trent Alexander-Arnold’s hand in the Liverpool penalty area but nothing was given and the hosts broke upfield to score through Fabinho. There was a further penalty shout for handball against Alexander-Arnold late in the game but, again, City were denied.

Klopp said: “I haven’t seen the penalty incident in the first half before Fabinho scored so I can’t say anything about, but I’ve heard it was first handball by Bernando Silva, I don’t know.

“I can imagine it’s not a situation Pep (Guardiola) is really pleased with. That’s normal.

“But the reaction we showed, 22 seconds later we were in front of their goal and Fabinho with his stunner brings us the 1-0 lead.”

Klopp felt Liverpool’s intensity early on proved decisive.

He added: “At the beginning it was wild. It was great, pressing and pressing, not a lot of clear balls in behind.

“You could sense it was really important for both teams. They were both ready to put a proper shift in. They did.”

Guardiola insisted he was not being sarcastic when he shook the hand of the referee after the game.

The City boss appeared to thank Michael Oliver for his performance in a theatrical way after the final whistle at Anfield.

“It was not sarcastic,” Guardiola said. “I say, ‘Thank you so much’ all the time. I said the same at Tottenham game at home. All the time I go to referees I say thank you so much.”

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