‘We need to be very, very close to perfection to win the Premier League’: Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool will have to be flawless to stop champions Manchester City after pulsating battle

By Dominic King for MailOnline

Published: 14:26 EDT, 12 May 2019 | Updated: 15:00 EDT, 12 May 2019

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool will have to pursue perfection next season in order to stop Manchester City from becoming champions for a third consecutive year.

For the first time in what has been a physically and mentally draining run-in, Klopp looked to be feeling the toll of trying to lead Liverpool to their first title since 1990. He looked exhausted when he faced the media after his team rounded off the campaign with a 2-0 win over Wolves.

Liverpool amassed 97 points but it was still not enough to wrestle the prize away from City and many will wonder how, after the greatest numerical campaign in the club’s history, they will be able to find the required improvement. Klopp, himself, recognises it will be a huge task.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp congratulated Manchester City after they won Premier League

Manchester City’s players and staff celebrate after they secured a second straight title win

He was magnanimous in defeat and his first statement of his press conference was to congratulate Pep Guardiola and City.

‘I don’t want anyone to miss that,’ said Klopp. ‘They have had a fantastic season.’ It is not a challenge, though, from which he will shy away. Klopp on several occasions made a point of saying Liverpool ‘will go again’ but he recognises the standards in the Premier League have improved to such an extent that there is now no margin for error.

‘I’m not worried,’ said Klopp when asked if he was anxious that Liverpool’s best had not been good enough. ‘That’s how it is. We played that season. Next season we will play a different season – that is clear already.

Klopp toasts the Liverpool supporters following their final home match of the season

‘As long as Manchester City are around with the quality they have and the financial power and all that stuff, it’s not that any other team will pass them easily. That is clear. We need to be very, very close to perfection to win the Premier League.

‘We made unbelievably big steps and I really expect more to come, that’s the truth. What that means in the end, I don’t know. But if you see whatever happens to you in life as the only chance you ever had, then I feel a bit for you, to be honest.

‘There is a lot to come – a lot of years – it’s all about you and what you do with it, and that’s what we do with it. People will tell us it’s 30 years (since Liverpool won the league) but they have bigger problems, to be honest. Other clubs to be honest. We will go again.

Pep Guardiola is thrown into the air by his players following their 4-1 win over Brighton

‘This team tried it the first time, and I really think they did it quite impressively for a first time. And to be on this road and also qualify for the Champions League final, it’s pretty special. This team is one of the best to have ever played for Liverpool 100 per cent.

‘But we play in the league with other very good teams and we have to accept that, no problem. We will go again, 100 per cent. But give me a few overs to get over what happened.’ 

Liverpool did not scale the heights they have done in recent weeks and, physically, they looked spent. Towards the end, Joel Matip was shuffling more than running while Andrew Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum had been substituted through exhaustion.

Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool ended their domestic campaign with a win over Wolves

A break will do Liverpool – who finished the campaign with nine consecutive Premier League wins – good before they contest the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1 and Klopp does not believe there will any temporary or permanent scarring from running City so close.

‘The only thing that could have dropped my mood was if we had of lost,’ said Klopp. ‘It’s still a fantastic season but I want to see the boys really try. The 1-0 (lead) of Brighton was difficult to deal with, when it calmed down it was clear they were one, two, three goals up or whatever.

‘Everyone knew that without knowing it. To be still in the game, fighting for the result and stuff like that, scoring goals, celebrating. We knew the result but there was celebrating for Sadio (Mane)’s second like a completely normal goal.

‘That’s our fate and we decide how much we enjoy the season and nobody else.. I enjoyed it a lot. Not the final second but all the rest. This team is not a finished article. We will go again, 100 per cent.’

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