Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expects to go toe-to-toe with Manchester City until the bitter end of the title race irrespective of who has the advantage in the fixture schedule.
This week, for the first time since December 15 when Pep Guardiola’s side beat Everton and the Reds defeated Manchester United the following day, City played a league match before their rivals, though they missed the chance to close to within a point of the leaders by losing 2-1 at Newcastle.
City will be out first for the next two matches, hosting Arsenal on Sunday — while Liverpool go to West Ham the following day — and also playing a rearranged game at Everton next Wednesday.
“For me, no difference. If we win the game, we are not interested in other results. How can we change the approach?” said Slopp ahead of the visit of Leicester tonight.
“I said it a few times, I expect City to win every game. It makes sense that you think like this.
“I can only speak for myself, but I don’t sit in front of the TV and think (damn) when they score or whatever.
“I really believe that you have to do your own work, your own job if you want to have something.
“Don’t be concentrated on other teams, it doesn’t help. I expect to be one point up before the game tomorrow, and that doesn’t bother me.”
Klopp is hopeful key defender Virgil Van Dijk will be fit enough to face the Foxes.
The centre-back has been ill since the club returned from a training camp in Dubai last week but was back on the pitch with the squad at Melwood on Tuesday.
He has not missed a Premier League match since Huddersfield away a year ago and has been on the pitch for all but 35 minutes of league action this season, having been forced off with a rib injury against Southampton earlier in the campaign.
The Netherlands international has been credited with the side’s vastly improved defensive record (just 13 goals conceded is the best in the league).
“Virg was a little bit ill but he trained yesterday. He will train today and then we will see,” said the Reds boss.
Klopp has had a number of injury issues but most of the short-term problems have cleared up just in time, although he has an issue at right-back with James Milner serving a one-match suspension and Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee) and Joe Gomez (leg) still not fit.
His options appear to be midfielder Fabinho, who plays in that position for Brazil but only returned to training on Tuesday after illness, and youngster Rafael Camacho.
“You have to wait until tomorrow. We will play with a right-back, or a wing-back,” said Klopp.
“I cannot answer. I have no clue what we are doing, to be honest!”
While Liverpool’s focus this season is on the title, the Reds manager has some sympathy with his Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino who said this week a top-four finish is more important than trophies.
“We need money for improving a football team, we cannot change that. It is not the only way but it is a big thing,” added Klopp.
I know people probably didn’t like what Poch said but it is so much easier looking from outside but from a club point of view the best competition to win is the Premier League because you are in the top four and you have won a big thing.
“The other cup competitions you want to win as well but they don’t guarantee you the money for the next year. That’s why top four is so important.
“In a club like Liverpool you always have to go for everything, and I think the best thing we did that everyone can see is that we are around the decisive things again.
“For a couple of years it was not like this, now it’s positive. But in the end, it is really important that you are in the Champions League next year as well.”